COLUMBIA. — A South Carolina state representative has been arrested on the Statehouse grounds and charged with driving under the influence, his second such charge in less than a year, but his attorney claimed his client was not impaired.
State Rep. Ted Vick, D-Chesterfield, was arrested about 11 p.m. Tuesday by the Bureau of Protective Services, according to Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Sherri Iacobelli.
An officer saw Vick stumbling as he walked into a parking garage on the Statehouse grounds in Columbia. Vick got into his car and hit a cone before the officer could catch up and ask him to stop.
Vick smelled of alcohol and refused field sobriety tests, according to an incident report. The officer called for backup, and Vick was eventually placed into handcuffs and taken to the Richland County jail, authorities said.
Vick’s attorney, fellow Rep. Todd Rutherford, said Vick was not impaired. Vick was walking funny because he had a rock in his shoe, said Rutherford, D-Columbia.
“The way he walks does not dictate the way you drive. And he only saw him driving 20 feet,” Rutherford said.
There is no audio or video of the arrest, and Vick drives a large pickup that can be difficult to maneuver in some of the tight spaces in the Statehouse garage, Rutherford said.
“Ted was not intoxicated. He was not drunk. He was not impaired. I have never in all my years seen anybody stopped by an officer on foot in a parking garage,” Rutherford said.
Vick was released from jail after several hours.
While the Statehouse is in session, lawmakers are typically in Columbia on Tuesday through Thursday. According to a police report, Vick told officers he had two glasses of wine at dinner at a Brazilian steakhouse in downtown Columbia earlier Tuesday night.
When an officer asked Vick whether he typically would feel comfortable in his current state, Vick said, “No, I have drivers,” according to an arrest report. Officers said Vick refused to take a breath test at the jail.
Vick, a businessman and lieutenant colonel in the South Carolina Army National Guard, withdrew from a congressional race last year after a DUI arrest but was re-elected to a fifth term in the Statehouse. According to a police report from that May 2012 arrest, an officer stopped Vick about 1 a.m. for speeding and reported that the car smelled of alcohol and that Vick’s eyes were glazed over.
Vick refused field sobriety tests. Also in the car with him was a 21-year-old University of South Carolina student, who told police she had met Vick at a nearby bar.
He also had a .380 pistol in his pocket and a concealed weapons permit that had expired in 2007. That case is still pending.
At that time, Vick had been one of a handful of Democrats seeking the nomination in the new 7th Congressional District, which runs through the Pee Dee and along the Grand Strand. Republican Tom Rice eventually defeated Democrat Gloria Bromell Tinubu in that race.