Trooper named in ticket scandal

9-year veteran loses job

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The North Carolina Highway Patrol has identified the trooper who may be part of an investigation into ticket irregularities in Harnett County.

Patrol spokesman Michael Baker said nine-year veteran Jason R. Benson was separated from the Highway Patrol, possibly as part of an investigation into ticket irregularities. Baker said Benson is no longer employed with the Highway Patrol.

Baker confirmed that irregularities were found in Harnett County during a weekly review of citations. That prompted an investigation involving the Harnett County District Attorney’s Office and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. Baker said that investigation resulted in the dismissal of an officer.

Though he didn’t confirm Benson is involved in the ticket investigation, he said, the trooper was dismissed July 8.

Prior to his dismissal Benson was assigned to Troop B, District 8 which has an office in Lillington.

According to Harnett County District Attorney Vernon Stewart, the investigation initiated in his office. The Highway Patrol became involved when it learned of his office’s investigation, Stewart said. The district attorney asked the SBI to get involved and expects a report in the near future.

Baker declined to release details on the investigation, citing the state’s personnel privacy act.

He released the information on Benson in response to a public records request from The Daily Record.

Baker said the case is concerning to his agency.

“Due to the serious nature of these allegations, the State Highway Patrol contacted both the Harnett County District Attorney and the State Bureau of Investigation, who are conducting independent investigations into this matter,” Baker said.

He confirmed the investigation was focused on tickets issued by a single trooper.

The evidence in the case resulted in the discovery of additional evidence related to the possible involvement of another trooper which is now part of an ongoing investigation, he added.

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