Troopers say a South Carolina state senator charged with driving under the influence had a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit, but Sen. Paul Campbell said that doesn’t matter because he wasn’t driving.
Campbell’s blood-alcohol level was 0.09 percent on a breath test taken at the Charleston County jail after the Saturday night crash, Highway Patrol Cpl. Sonny Collins said. The legal limit in South Carolina is 0.08 percent.
Michaela Caddin said that after she was rear-ended by Sen. Paul Campbell on Saturday night on Interstate 26 north of Charleston, Campbell’s Mercedes pulled off the highway in front of her and she watched as Campbell got out of the driver’s side, his wife got out of the passenger seat and they switched places.
Campbell and his wife, Vicki, were also charged with providing false information to police because they switched seats after the senator failed to stop in time on Interstate 26 in congested traffic and hit the back of a Jeep, Collins said.
The family of the other driver, Michaela Caddin, provided a photo of her Jeep to WCIV-TV, showing a dented rear door and scratches on the bumper. She and the Campbells were not seriously hurt.
The wreck could have been a lot worse, Caddin’s mother, Paulette Caddin-McRann told the judge at Campbell’s bond hearing.
“He chose to have alcoholic beverages last night and got behind the wheel and provide false information to the police,” she said. “I hope as he sits in jail with a normal person he thinks about his actions.”
The lawyer for the woman says the lawmaker should resign if he lied to state troopers.
Attorney Matt Yelverton, who represents Caddin, said Tuesday that the Goose Creek Republican should quit if convicted of lying.
Campbell said little during the bond hearing and was released on his own recognizance. He has told reporters since that the truth will come out at trial that he was not behind the wheel.
The 71-year-old Goose Creek Republican was first elected to the state Senate in 2006 and is chairman of the Ethics Committee. Both charges against Campbell are misdemeanors. Senators can only be suspended automatically when charged with felonies.
Campbell also is chief executive of the authority overseeing operations of the Charleston International Airport.
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