by Paul Bowers
At about 2 a.m. on Sunday, Charleston police officers responded to a call about a white Lexus SUV that had destroyed about 10 feet of the guard rail at the onramp from Savannah Highway to Interstate 526. The driver was Nicholas Robert Wagner, 37, a Charleston County Sheriff's Office deputy.
According to the incident write-up by the reporting officer, Wagner smelled like alcohol, had glassy eyes and slurred speech, and swayed as he walked. Wagner told the officer that he "had a bad night" and was driving from downtown when he lost control of his vehicle.
The reporting officer noticed a wet spot on Wagner's pants, and Wagner said he had urinated on himself earlier in the night and that it was not caused by the collision. After being arrested and taken to the Charleston County Detention Center, Wagner refused to give a breath sample for an alcohol analysis test, and his driver's license was handed over to the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles.
Wagner is the latest in a series of Charleston-area law enforcement officers who have been arrested on DUI charges this year. In February, Charleston police officer John Woods was arrested in Mt. Pleasant after telling officers he had drunk five or six beers at Wild Wing Cafe in celebration of a fellow officer's move to the Upstate. While being arrested, he told a Mt. Pleasant police officer, "I better not catch you in Charleston City," according to the incident report.
In March, Major Frank Riccio, the second-in-command at Mt. Pleasant Police Department, was arrested on DUI charges in Georgetown, and he later resigned.
Wagner was off duty at the time of his arrest, according to a spokesman for the Charleston County Sheriff's Office. He has been placed on unpaid administrative leave and will appear in court for his DUI charge on May 24 at 2 p.m.