A police video taken the night of Paul Lindemann's drunken-driving arrest shows the York County councilman struggling to recite the alphabet and unable to count backward from 32.
Before a Columbia patrol officer gives him a sobriety test on the side of a busy downtown street, Lindemann asks if there's any way he can "just go on back to Fort Mill," where he lives.
"No, there is not," the officer replies.
The dashboard camera video, obtained by The Herald through a Freedom of Information Act request, shows Lindemann correctly reciting the alphabet until he gets to the letter W. At that point, he returns to H and then skips to other letters.
Asked to count backward from 32, Lindemann makes it to 30 before struggling to stay in order. Immediately after the tests, an officer puts Lindemann in handcuffs and places him in a patrol car.
The video is posted at heraldonline.com.
Lindemann, 29, declined to comment on the video Friday and referred questions to his lawyer, Joe McCulloch of Columbia. McCulloch could not be reached.
"I'm going to get everything resolved with the charge, and we're going to win in November as well," Lindemann said of his re-election bid in the Nov. 4 general election.
Columbia police say Lindemann was "highly intoxicated" when he was pulled over near Palmetto Health Richland on the night of July 16. Two motorcyclists told police that Lindemann's black 2008 Audi A4 nearly ran into them several times on Harden Street.
The video shows Lindemann, dressed in khaki pants, shirt and tie, standing behind his car talking with one officer while another stands nearby. During the exchange, the officer brings up the sobriety test.
"Let me ask you. How is that going to help me?" Lindemann says.
Trial could come in November
Lindemann was scheduled to appear in court last month, but his lawyer requested a jury trial, causing the case to be delayed. A court administrator told The Herald this week the new date might be scheduled for as late as November.
That means the trial could occur after the Nov. 4 election, in which the Republican Lindemann faces Democrat Marion Davenport and Green Party candidate Bryan Smith. The District 1 seat represents Fort Mill and Tega Cay.
Asked about his re-election prospects, Lindemann said his bid for a second term has been helped by Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Her nomination came under scrutiny amid the disclosure that her 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, is pregnant, and allegations that she improperly tried to have her former brother-in-law fired from his state job.
"People have started to recognize that everybody who's running for political office is as human as those sitting back home," Lindemann said.
In the two months since his arrest, Lindemann said he's kept busy with county business. He attended a forum in Fort Mill last week on a proposed countywide workplace smoking ban.
He's pushing an interchange improvement project at the Carowinds exit on Interstate 77, where landscaping and sign upgrades are planned. He also supports a special zoning district in the area around U.S. 21 known as "Fort Vegas," the site of many former gambling houses, where the county wants to revitalize a stretch of old buildings and vacant lots.
Last month, Lindemann drove to a County Council meeting in York on a license that state records showed had been suspended since his July arrest. Driving on a suspended license is a violation of the law.
Lindemann, a real estate investor, told The Herald he now uses a private driver, though he declined to go into specifics.
The DUI charge, he said, hasn't created a distraction on the campaign trail.
"You're the only person that ever asks me about it," he told a reporter.
Matt Garfield • 329-4063