A Prince George's County sheriff's deputy, on the way to pick up a prisoner, was arrested in North Carolina last week and charged with driving 96 mph while drinking beer, authorities said yesterday.

Sgt. Jose Gaskins was on his way to Winston-Salem, N.C., with another deputy in an unmarked sheriff's car Aug. 1 when he was stopped by police on Interstate 85 in Henderson, N.C., according to Sgt. Robert Whitesell, of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.

Whitesell said the officer who stopped the car issued Gaskins two citations, one for speeding and another for "consuming a malt beverage" while driving. He said the officer saw "several empty beer bottles" in the car, in addition to the bottle from which Gaskins allegedly was drinking. The incident was first reported in yesterday's Prince George's Journal.

Because Gaskins allegedly was driving more than 15 mph above the highway speed limit of 65, Whitesell said, he was arrested and brought before a Vance County magistrate. He was released on bond and must appear for trial Sept. 14, Whitesell said.

If found guilty of driving 96 mph, Gaskins could be fined up to $100, jailed for up to 60 days and barred from driving in North Carolina, Whitesell said. Drinking beer while driving is punishable by a $25 fine.

Police did not test Gaskins's blood-alcohol level after the arrest because "he did not seem to be impaired," Whitesell said.

He said the other deputy, Cpl. Daniel Hall, was not charged.

Irv Smith, a sheriff's spokesman in Prince George's, said Gaskins, a deputy for 19 years, was suspended when he and Hall returned to Maryland the next day. But a departmental hearing board reinstated him Aug. 3, pending an investigation and his North Carolina court appearance, Smith said.