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Buckhannon police officer resigns after allegedly driving under the influence

By Katie Kuba and Monica Zalaznik

BUCKHANNON – A Buckhannon city police officer has resigned after he allegedly drove under the influence of alcohol last month.

Sgt. Marshall O’Connor, who also served as the Buckhannon Police Department’s representative on the Mountain Lakes Drug & Violent Crime Unit, was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, first offense, a misdemeanor, in December 2023.

At Buckhannon City Council’s meeting Thursday, Buckhannon Police Chief Matt Gregory announced O’Connor had submitted his resignation.

“I have received notice that Sergeant Marshall O’Connor has resigned from his position with the Buckhannon Police Department, and that is effective as of January 17, 2024,” Gregory said.

During his closing remarks, Mayor Robbie Skinner thanked O’Connor for his years of service as a city police officer.

“We are sad to see Marshall go,” Skinner said. “He was a great officer here for 10, 11 years or so, handled a lot of cases, handled himself with professionalism through that time, and we certainly wish him well in his future endeavors and wherever that might lead him through life.”

According to the criminal complaint in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s Office filed by Upshur County Sheriff’s Deputy Cpl. T.R. Collins, on Dec. 18, 2023, Upshur County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a location on Orr Street, and upon arrival, they encountered O’Connor, 37, of Buckhannon.

“During this interaction, they detected the odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from him,” Collins wrote in the report.

The report alleges O’Connor admitted to consuming alcohol “up to midnight the night prior,” the file says.

“He stated after he woke up, he drove to Kroger’s to get fuel, then sat behind Subway and ultimately at this residence on Orr Street,” the police report says.

O’Connor was transported to the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office and, upon being interviewed, told Collins the same story “with the admittance of driving his Ford Fusion.”

According to the report, O’Connor agreed to perform an approved secondary test for his Blood Alcohol Concentration.

“This was performed on the Intox EC/IR-II machine,” the complaint states. “The final reading was .134.” The blood alcohol content legal limit in West Virginia is .08.

Bail was set at $2,500 personal recognizance on the condition that O’Connor enter counseling at an addiction treatment facility.

On Jan. 18, 2024, O’Connor was charged with another misdemeanor for an incident that allegedly occurred on Dec. 16, 2023. According to the criminal complaint filed by Sgt. Marshall Powers with the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office, O’Connor allegedly fired a shotgun in the driveway of his residence on Little Sand Run Road and was charged with shooting within 500 feet of a dwelling. A neighbor heard what she thought was a gunshot and called 911 to report it, the complaint states.

O’Connor, who was hired by the Buckhannon City Police Department in 2013, completed basic training at the West Virginia State Police Academy in 2014 and went on to become an instructor within the BPD on the use of non-lethal weapons and self-defense, among several other certifications.

In 2019, Create Buckhannon honored O’Connor for his community policing work, naming him Community Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. Then, in 2021, the VIPS – the Buckhannon Police Department’s volunteer wing – named O’Connor Officer of the Year at its inaugural banquet organized to recognize law enforcement officers and emergency 911 telecommunicators.

The potential penalty for a conviction of DUI first offense is confinement in jail for up to six months, a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $500, and the revocation of the person’s license to operate a motor vehicle by the Commissioner of the Division of Motor Vehicles for a period of six months or for a period of time conditioned on participation in the test-and-lock program. The potential penalty for shooting within 500 feet of a dwelling is a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $500, confinement in jail for not more than 100 days, or both.

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