A former Berkeley County sheriff pleaded guilty to two DUI-related charges on Monday, more than a year after a state trooper arrested him for fleeing the scene of a crash at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour.
Wayne DeWitt pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and failure to comply with police. He was sentenced to 30 days, but that was suspended if he completes three years probation and does 60 hours of community service. The sentencing judge also ordered the former sheriff to attend at least two Alcoholics Anonymous meetings each week.
“I came here to be held accountable for what I had done back on December 28, 2014,” DeWitt told waiting reporters outside the Berkeley County Courthouse in Moncks Corner. “I made a very grave mistake. It’s been very costly.”
DeWitt resigned in February after his December 2014 arrest for fleeing the scene of a hit-and-run crash in Goose Creek. The Highway Patrol said at the time that the sheriff had rear-ended another vehicle with a county-owned pickup. A Hanahan police officer later spotted the pickup several miles away. Incident reports state DeWitt ran a red light, drove more than 100 MPH and nearly ran off the road during the pursuit. The entire chase and ensuing sobriety test was recorded on dashboard cameras.
The Highway Patrol trooper said DeWitt struggled to keep his balance during a sobriety test and even reached for an officer’s arm to steady himself at one point. The trooper said the sheriff also struggled to follow a pen with just his eyes. Dashboard footage shows the trooper was aware of DeWitt’s identity during the stop.
Prior to his resignation, DeWitt had served the county as sheriff for 20 years. He had initially resisted stepping down, but agreed to do so as an indictment loomed two months later.
Voters in June elected Santee Cooper’s chief of law enforcement Duane Lewis to replace him.