Lexington Deputy Coroner Arrested For DUI, Open Container

West Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- A Deputy Coroner for Lexington County was arrested in West Columbia, charged with DUI and having an open container in the vehicle.

West Columbia Police responded at 4:43PM Tuesday to the 100 block of Keckley Drive in West Columbia to check on a reported driver asleep behind the wheel.

In a dash-cam video released of the incident, one of the officers said that the vehicle was government-owned.

The responding Officer arrived at the location and found Lexington County Deputy Coroner Barry Wright unconscious behind the wheel of a Ford Explorer, stopped in the middle of the street.

The Officer knocked on the window and was able to wake Wright, who shut off the vehicle, and at the request of the Officer, unlocked and exited the vehicle.

The Officer reported that he observed an open 24oz can of Icehouse beer in the center cup holder, and when obtained by another Officer on the scene, was reported to be about half full and cold to the touch.

Wright was asked to walk to the rear of his vehicle, and the Officer reports Wright was unsteady on his feet and stumbled once, had slurred speech and an odor of alcohol on his breath and his person. When asked by Officers about the open beer in the vehicle, Wright is quoted as responding "I thought I was at the house."

In questioning on the scene, Wright allegedly told Officers he had one beer, and purchased the Icehouse 24oz container on his way home, but "didn't know how it was opened."

Wright was asked to take a field sobriety test, which he declined after a short discussion with the Officers, who then placed him under arrest for Driving Under The Influence.

When Officers placed him in one of the Police vehicles, Wright allegedly stated that the Icehouse beer(s) did not need to be thrown away because they were "from a death scene yesterday."

However, following a search of Wright's vehicle he consented to, Officers located two receipts for two Icehouse beers each, both dated Tuesday, August 19th, one from 2:13PM and one from 3:55PM. West Columbia Police subsequently acquired video allegedly of Wright making those purchases.

Wright was transported to the Lexington County Detention Center, where he was released on Wednesday after posting bail totaling $1,259. He has since resigned from the coroner's office.


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