Sanford's car pulled for speeding, not ticketed

COLUMBIA --- A Highway Patrol trooper stopped South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's car for speeding but let his protective detail driver go without a ticket, an official said Wednesday.

 

State Department of Public Safety Director Mark Keel said he had reviewed a recording of the stop and that the State Law Enforcement Division agent will be cited. He did not say how fast Mr. Sanford's car was going Tuesday on Interstate 385, a heavily traveled route between Columbia and Greenville, but the recording shows the speed at 85 mph. The limit through that area is 65 mph, a public safety spokesman said.

Mr. Keel said Lance Cpl. R.S. Salter clocked a speeding sedan and pulled it over two miles from Interstate 26. Mr. Keel said the driver identified himself as a SLED agent. "Asked why he was speeding, the agent said he was transporting the governor," Mr. Keel said.

In 2006, Mr. Sanford's office was highly critical of the lieutenant governor when the Highway Patrol twice stopped him for speeding but didn't issue tickets.

South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Chief Reggie Lloyd, whose agent was driving Mr. Sanford, said the ticket is appropriate.

"He did something that I thought was totally inappropriate, from the standpoint of the trooper as well as the governor," Chief Lloyd said. "I think we as an agency owe Trooper Salter, as well as the governor, an apology."

He said his agency would investigate to see whether the agent would be punished. He would not name the agent but said he is still on duty and is regularly assigned as part of the governor's detail.

Sanford spokesman Ben Fox referred questions about the stop to Mr. Keel's agency.

The governor's schedule included an economic development announcement in Gaffney in the morning and a speech in Easley at a Rotary Club lunch in the afternoon. Mr. Sanford left Easley just after wrapping up an interview with a reporter at 2 p.m. He had meetings scheduled in Columbia in the afternoon, but no public events, his office said.