Convicted DWI investigator resigns

A Hickory Police investigator resigned a week after his DWI conviction, following a single-car accident in December.

Officer Robert Joseph Falowski, 42, of Claremont, was convicted April 14 on a Level 5 driving while impaired charge in Hickory District Court. Falowski's attorney, Gene Sigmon, filed an appeal in the ruling, which is on its way to the District Attorney's Office for a date in superior court.

With the conviction, Falowski was given a 60-day suspended sentence, 12 months of unsupervised probation and 24 hours of community service, which must be completed within 30 days of his conviction.

In addition, he must surrender his driver's license and submit to a substance abuse assessment. Falowski also has to pay $1,108 in fines, which includes $600 lab fees, $250 for community service, $100 fine and $158 court costs.

Hickory Police Chief Tom Adkins was not available for comment concerning Falowski's April 21 resignation.

The O-N-E first reported on Falowski's accident Dec. 16.

According to a N.C. Highway Patrol Crash Report, Falowski was driving north Dec. 4 in a 1998 Jeep on Rock Barn Road about 6:30 p.m., when he ran off the right side of the road and hit a mailbox. He then crossed the center line, hit a stop sign, traveled into a field and struck a tree. Falowski was traveling at 45 mph during the incident, which is the listed speed limit, according to the report. Falowski then allegedly left the scene.

NCSHP Trooper R.E. Rudisill cited Falowski for drinking and driving after the trooper noticed Falowski had "an odor of alcohol coming from his breath" and "red, glassy eyes," according to court documents.

After the December incident, Falowski was placed on administrative duties with the Hickory Police Department.

Falowski was an investigator in the Zahra Baker case. His name appears on a Hickory Police Department warrant to search Zahra Baker's former residence, located at 21 21st Ave. NW in Hickory.