Records: Officer smelled of alcohol

Former North Charleston police officer Nicholas Lomma is charged with DUI.

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Nicholas Lomma's supervisors smelled alcohol on the North Charleston police officer's breath when they found him and his wrecked patrol car along a rural Colleton County roadway Saturday morning, according to records obtained from a Freedom of Information Act request.

Records also show Lomma had fired his duty weapon in violation of department policy.

The S.C. Highway Patrol charged the 25-year-old former officer, a resident of Summerville, with DUI after he wrecked his car into a ditch about 1:30 a.m. Lomma's supervisors and a Highway Patrol trooper discovered the wreck about six hours later, after the officer used his police radio to contact his supervisors, authorities said.

North Charleston Police Chief Jon Zumalt wrote in Lomma's termination letter that he was fired for drinking and driving his city vehicle and for driving the vehicle more than 10 miles outside of city limits.

Lomma told the chief during a meeting Monday that he used his duty weapon for target practice on Friday, outside of the scope of policy. Zumalt said the weapon violation by itself would have resulted in a less serious punishment.

The department released the termination letter, the officer's performance appraisals, a previous reprimand and dashboard camera footage following a Post and Courier request for the records.

Department officials initially declined to release information about Lomma's departure because it was considered a "personnel issue" and later declined to release his performance records unless the newspaper filed a Freedom of Information request, which it did.

Zumalt said Tuesday that Lomma did not have any prior disciplinary issues, but on Wednesday said the officer received a written reprimand from the department's deputy chief in March 2009 for contributing to a December 2008 wreck that occurred while the officer was responding to a call for service.

Zumalt said he was initially unaware of the incident and that it was not located in their files when they checked it Tuesday.

Lomma's performance appraisals all indicate he met expectations since starting with the department in 2008.

The police department this week also released video of footage taken from Lomma's car both before and after the officer wrecked on S.C. Highway 28 near Bennetts Point.

North Charleston Police Sgt. Todd Morgan said the video actually is five different videos filmed every time the officer activated his blue lights. Each video ended when the officer manually turned the camera off, he said.

The footage shows the patrol car sitting in the ditch. Morgan said the impact wasn't enough to activate the camera.

The Highway Patrol incident report indicates the wreck happened about 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

Lomma used his police radio to contact his supervisor about 4:30 a.m. to tell him the car was still running but wouldn't shift into gear, according to the department.

His supervisors and a trooper found him on S.C. 28 about 7:30 a.m. The officer was arrested at the scene and released on $1,000 bail.

Attempts to reach Lomma or his attorney have been unsuccessful. Lomma has an unlisted number and a man at his listed address said Lomma does not live there.

Lomma's trial on the DUI charge is set for 10 a.m. March 17 at the Colleton County Courthouse, according to S.C. Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. Bob Beres.