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Bluffton pediatrician charged with DUI and child endangerment

A Bluffton pediatrician faces three charges of DUI, child endangerment and having open containers of beer and liquor in his vehicle. The 45-year-old was traveling with his daughter in the passenger seat of his pickup truck on Dec. 13. An officer approached the truck, which was stopped on a green light at a Charleston intersection, an allegedly found the physician asleep at the wheel.

According to the officer, the pediatrician immediately began to drive and struck the officer's police cruiser in an attempt to get away and make a U-turn. The truck proceeded to run off the road and strike a street sign, after which it came to a stop. The officer noted that the man appeared disheveled and detained him after allegedly refusing to turn off his car. When the officer asked the man's daughter who the empty container belonged to, she confirmed that it was her father's.

Authorities report that the man refused to take field sobriety tests or the Breathalyzer test. According to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the physician has no previous criminal record in the state. He was released on bond the day after his arrest and continued to see patients. The incident has raised question as to whether the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation will pursue action against the physician, whose license expires on June 30.

Because this is the first criminal offense for the driver, his defense attorney may attempt to have the charges lessened or altogether dismissed. One possible DUI defense method would be to address the validity of the methods used to determine that the defendant was impaired at the scene. It is also unclear whether the defendant's disheveled state at the time of the accident was due to a medical issue or some other factor.

Source: The State, "Pediatrician must report DUI arrest to licensing board", Rebecca Lurye, Jan. 8, 2015

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