Berkeley County Sheriff Henry Wayne DeWitt was arrested by Highway Patrol for driving under the influence and hit and run.
Highway Patrol arrest sheriff for DUI
Early Sunday morning Sheriff Henry Wayne DeWitt, who serves Berkeley County of South Carolina, was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. The sheriff allegedly struck another car at the intersection of Red Bank and H E Brown Jr. Boulevard. However, 63 year old DeWitt failed to stop to help the driver after the accident or report the incident.
He was stopped by officers from the Hanahan Police Department when they found his truck matching the description of a vehicle involved in a hit and run accident a few minutes earlier. According to police reports, the driver of the other car sustained injuries in the accident. The highway patrol tracked down and arrested DeWitt around 6 am. DeWitt was taken to the Charleston County Sheriff’s office where he refused to take a breathalyzer test. Not good!
Judge questions DeWitt’s arrest by Highway Patrol
Sheriff DeWitt was presented before Hanahan Magistrate Judge James Polk. At the hearing which was held 12 hours after the arrest, Polk issued DeWitt a PR Bond set at $10,000 for the hit and run and $997 for the DUI. However, he questioned his authority to set bond since the Coroner was the only person to have the power to arrest a sheriff. What?
In this case, Sheriff DeWitt was arrested by the highway patrol, which indicated that the arrest might have been illegal. Say that again!? This is true; this is the law as it stands. DeWitt’s DUI attorney said he would present his arguments and deal with that matter during court proceedings. DeWitt was released on his own recognizance.
Apparently some people are above the law like this out of control sheriff. Sheriff Wayne DeWit is in the middle.
Dorchester County Coroner Chris Nesbit considered this law to be archaic and called for a revision where all law enforcement agencies be permitted to arrest a sheriff. He did not think that the arrest was wrongly conducted since the highway patrol had statewide jurisdiction to make arrests. According to DUI attorneys, state law mandates that a sheriff cannot be removed from office without an indictment.
The sheriff of 20 years will appear in court in February
If DeWitt is convicted he will have to serve a prison sentence for up to one year and fines totaling $997 for the hit and run along with a suspended driving license. Unless enough evidence is provided by DeWitt’s DUI attorney to disprove his arrest as illegal and have his charges dismissed, he may be removed from the post of Sheriff of Berkeley County.
No sheriff is perfect
A sheriff for 20 years at Berkeley County, DeWitt was re-elected this year only after considerable opposition, which many say, was for the first time in his career. The current charges will be a blemish to his record. DeWitt has been asked to appear before the court in the first week of February although there is no set trial for the hit and run.