Investigator in Zahra case charged with DWI after crashing into tree

Robert Falowski (Source: WBTV)
Robert Falowski (Source: WBTV)

HICKORY, NC (WBTV) – An investigator in the case of a dead 10-year-old Hickory girl is facing DWI charges and may be kicked off the force after crashing his Jeep into a tree in early December, Hickory police say.

Hickory police say Officer Robert J. Falowski was driving on Rock Barn Road near Claremont when he ran off the right side of the roadway, struck a mailbox, veered back across the center line and hit a stop sign.

Falowski is listed on key search warrant documents in the Zahra Baker case. Zahra was reported missing in early October, but police said on Nov. 12 that she was dead – and evidence later revealed she had been dismembered.

Click here to read the warrant (starts on page 12)

According to police, Falowski's 1998 Jeep Wrangler also barreled through a field and came to rest after hitting a tree on December 4 around 6:30 p.m. Falowski was not on-duty at the time of the crash, police said.

Falowski filled out a search warrant on Oct. 27 for the Baker home on 21st Avenue. That warrant details that police intended to seize drain pipes, latex gloves, white trash bags and a black velvet bag containing hearing aids from the home. It's since been revealed that Zahra's bodily fluids, bones and blood could be found in the pipes in the home.

Falowski, a 19-year veteran of the force, has been placed on administrative duty while an internal investigation is immediately conducted.

"I am concerned about the incident involving Officer Falowski." said Hickory's police chief Tom Adkins.

"Court proceedings will determine the final outcome of these charges; however, I will look to the internal investigation to guide actions I may need to take in the best interest of this agency prior to the completion of the criminal case."

Falowski is charged with DWI, failure to report an accident, and a lane control violation.

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