State senator embarrassed at public intoxication arrest
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A state senator in South Carolina charged with public intoxication after being found in his parked SUV in a strip mall lot said he is embarrassed and that law enforcement acted properly taking him to jail for several hours.
Republican Sen. Tom Davis was issued a ticket for public intoxication early New Year’s Day. Davis said he parked his SUV in Lexington after driving a short distance and realizing he drank too much at a New Year’s Eve event and should not be driving.
“It’s a mistake on my part. I’m embarrassed. Law enforcement behaved properly,” Davis told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Davis released a statement about his arrest Sunday just hours after he got out of jail, and a police report released Tuesday confirmed almost all of his account.
The report never mentions that Davis told the officer about his position and that Davis was handcuffed in the parking lot, taken to the Lexington County jail and spent about six hours behind bars before being released on a $1,000 bail.
The officer said he found Davis with his head on the steering wheel inside his SUV with fogged up windows about 2 a.m. New Year’s Day. Davis said he had been at a party drinking, started to drive and realized he was too intoxicated. So he parked his car and planned to wait and sober up then drive back to his home in Beaufort, according to the police report.
Davis failed sobriety tests and the officer charged him with public intoxication because he could not leave Davis in the parked SUV in his condition.
“You might decide in an hour or two to drive away and law enforcement would be responsible,” Davis said the officer told him.
According to the police report, the officer asked Davis if he knew anyone in Lexington and Davis said his girlified lived there, but they had an argument and she asked him to leave.
Davis, who divorced his wife in 2020, said Wednesday it was a friend who lived in Lexington and he was at a party watching the college football playoff games. He also said there was not an argument. He did not dispute he might have said something different in the confusion of the incident.
Lexington police confirmed Davis did not mention he was a state senator until after he was taken into custody.
“He only mentioned it after the arrest and when the officer asked what he did for work,” Lexington Police spokesperson Sgt. Cameron Mortenson said.
Public intoxication is a misdemeanor and Davis said the judge heard several cases before getting to him Sunday morning. Davis issued a statement about his arrest about nine hours later before it became public.
“I felt a sense of shame and a sense of falling short of what people expected of me. It may have been a good decision or a bad decision, but I thought I need to let people know what I was going to do about it,” Davis said.
Davis said he looks forward to showing his family and his constituents that he takes responsibility for his mistakes and learns from them.
Davis, 62, entered politics by running former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford’s campaigns in 2002 and 2006 and also serving as Sanford’s legislative liaison and chief of staff. He has served in the state Senate since 2009 and is chair of the Senate Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee.