On December 28, 2014, Berkeley County Sheriff Wayne DeWitt was arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence and Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Injuries. Dewitt, who has served as Berkeley County’s sheriff since 1995, is set to appear in court in February.
DeWitt’s arrest highlights a troubling trend among South Carolina Law Enforcement. Five of our 46 sheriffs have faced criminal charges in the past three years. (wbtw.com)
DeWitt was given a personal recognizance bond at his hearing on Sunday evening in the amounts of $10,000 and $997.
Sunday’s incident has also caused some to question state law regarding sheriffs’ arrests. DeWitt was arrested by state Troopers, however, in South Carolina, only the coroner has the authority to arrest a sheriff.
But is that really the case? According to ABC News Charleston, “Highway Patrol officials say Troopers have the authority to arrest anyone without limitations, and cited state law as evidence that gives them the same power as sheriffs in making arrests.”
DeWitt was driving his county-owned Ford pickup truck Sunday when the incident occurred. The collision left another driver rear ended, and resulted in Dewitt fleeing the scene. The 21-year-old victim was treated and released from Trident Medical Center.
Hanahan police located the truck around 5:50 a.m. and arrested Dewitt after confirming he was the driver, and after he failed a field sobriety test. Dewitt’s license was automatically revoked after he refused to take a Breathalyzer after being taken to the Al Cannon Detention Center.