Columbia, SC – The South Carolina Highway Patrol released dash-cam video of a state senator being arrested for driving under the influence last Saturday night (video below).
State Senator Paul Campbell rear-ended another vehicle on Interstate 26 in Charleston County, and then switched places with his wife after the accident, to make it appear that she was the driver of their Mercedes SUV, according to the driver of the vehicle that was hit.
Campbell is chair of the Senate Ethics Committee for South Carolina.
The senator and his wife denied changing seats, police said.
Campbell was arrested for DUI at the scene, after he failed several field sobriety tests (see multiple videos of the arrest below).
“I was shocked when I heard the story he told the media. I was afraid when I heard a man entrusted with so much power say something that was so different from what I saw happen,” said Michaela Caddin, whose car was hit by Campbell.
The dash-cam video starts when a state trooper arrives at the accident scene, and ends with the drive from the scene to the detention center, according to WHNS. The 911 call from the incident has also been released.
There was no question that the Senator’s car rear-ended another vehicle, but the Senator and his wife Vicki lied to troopers about who was driving, police said.
Both Campbell and his wife were charged with lying to police, and at least two watchdog groups have called for his resignation since the incident.
Other state lawmakers were shocked about Campbell’s arrest.
“If the evidence concludes that Paul Campbell lied to a police officer, then I’m going to hit him. But I think we need to see the evidence first,” State Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey said, according to The Post and Courier.
In the dash-cam video, the trooper can be heard asking Campbell, “Did you drive at any point this evening?”
Campbell answered “No sir…” then he said, “I did, early on, downtown,”
The trooper then asked him, “Have you driven since you left downtown?”
Campbell answered “No sir.”
Caddin, 21, and her parents, are now calling for Campbell to take responsibility for his actions.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) participated in a press conference with Caddin and her parents at her attorney Matt Yelverton’s office on Tuesday.
Massey urged people not to rush to conclusions, and said a “cooling period” should happen for the facts to become clearer,” and that he had always found Campbell to be “a truthful person.”
“There are a number of people if they said something to me I would question the veracity of it,” Massey said. “Paul Campbell has never lied to me that I know of.”
Massey said that given the on-going Statehouse corruption probe, there are those in Columbia who may have short patience for anyone with a whiff of impropriety being allowed to stay in place, The Post and Courier reported.
In the video of his arrest, Campbell could be seen performing poorly the walk and turn field sobriety test.
The state senator and the trooper chatted cordially as the trooper drove toward the detention center.
Campbell apologized for putting the trooper “through this,” and the trooper responded that it “was his job.”
Although Campbell was polite at all times, the conversation took a turn for the uncomfortable. The trooper in the video looked like he would rather be anywhere else.
“You didn’t have to handcuff me, I would have been fine,” Campbell said in the video.
“Well, we have our policies,” the trooper replied.
Then they began chatting about the fact the senator carries two wallets.
“If I had two, I’d lose one of them,” the trooper said.
“No, if you were a state senator, and an airport – I run the Charleston Airport too… of course I might not be after this,” Campbell replied.
“One step at a time,” the trooper cautioned him, and then attempted to make small talk about sports.
“This may cost me my job, you know that right?” Campbell asked.
“Yes sir,” the trooper replied, deadpan.
Campbell had trouble keeping his eyes open during the drive to the police station.
But he woke up long enough to tell the trooper that only South Carolina and New York use the kind of breathalyzer that they use.
“Everybody else uses a different device… it’s one that doesn’t require calibration. We have the one that’s probably easiest to beat in court, unfortunately,” Campbell said.
“That’s why we have a very high fatality rate,” the trooper said.
Campbell then told the trooper that the driver of the other vehicle was wrong, and that he and his wife had both jumped out of their vehicle at the same time. He said he told his wife to get back in the vehicle.
He also told the trooper that he had attended a Clemson football party downtown, and that he didn’t think he would have more than a .03 or .04 BAC.
Campbell’s BAC was .09 when he was tested upon arrival at the detention center.
You can see multiple clips of the traffic stop below, keep scrolling for more: