The man who led South Carolina’s highway department for the past three years has resigned following an arrest for suspected DUI early Friday morning.
Robert St. Onge, Jr., was a retired Army general when he was appointed to be Secretary of the Department of Transportation by Gov. Nikki Haley shortly after she took office in 2011. The Governor’s Office said he submitted his resignation letter Friday morning.
“With heartfelt regret, I am resigning my position as Secretary of Transportation effective immediately due to personal reasons,” St. Onge wrote in a letter provided by Haley’s office. “I would like to thank you for the support you have shown me as we have worked together to improve South Carolina’s transportation system.”
The news was first reported by WLTX in Columbia. Lexington County deputies pulled over St. Onge after they spotted him driving erratically around 8 a.m. Friday on Interstate 20 north of Columbia. State troopers then were called to the scene to assist with the stop.
Troopers say St. Onge failed a field sobriety test. He was then taken to the Lexington County Detention Center, where troopers said a blood alcohol test found a .20 BAC, well above the state limit of .08. St. Onge was then booked at the detention center, before later being released on a personal recognizance bond.
Haley’s spokesman Doug Mayer confirmed the resignation in an email. “General St. Onge is a good man with a lifetime of service to his country, and more recently, our state,” Mayer wrote. “That said, we have a no tolerance policy for our state agency directors, and so General St. Onge has resigned as Secretary of Transportation. The governor thanks him for his work fixing the serious fiscal issues he inherited at the Department of Transportation – the state is better off because of his service.”
Haley has named current SCDOT Deputy Secretary of Finance and Procurement Christy Hall as acting director. The Governor’s Office said it would seek a permanent replacement for St. Onge.