FORT MILL TOWNSHIP -- York County Council Chairman Buddy Motz is calling fellow Councilman Paul Lindemann's recent run-in with Columbia law enforcement "unfortunate."
Lindemann was "highly intoxicated" and "significantly impaired" when he was arrested in Columbia and charged with driving under the influence last week, according to a police report. Lindemann, 29, was arrested Wednesday after police suspected him of driving while drinking, a Columbia Police Department report states. The time of the arrest is unclear.
Lindemann, elected in 2006, could not be reached for comment before press time Tuesday, despite several attempts by The Herald and the Fort Mill Times.
Lindemann's council seat is safe for now, though he does face two opponents in November's election. Democratic candidate Marion Davenport declined to comment about Lindemann's arrest. Green Party candidate Bryan Smith said the incident is unfortunate and added that it will be up to voters to decide if the arrest will be a factor in November.
According to county officials there are no county ordinances or rules that would lead to Lindemann's removal from office because of the charge.
"Any removal would have to come from the state," Motz said. "It would be similar to how the coroner situation was handled."
Motz was referring to Gov. Mark Sanford's decision to suspend Coroner Doug McKown following an arrest on drug-related charges last year. McKown was eventually cleared of most of those charges at trial.
Early last Wednesday morning a Columbia police officer stopped Lindemann's black 2008 Audi A4 after observing him lock up its front wheels while trying to turn onto Colonial Drive near the Palmetto Health Richland hospital downtown. Two motorcyclists also told the officer they witnessed Lindemann's vehicle nearly strike them several times on Harden Street, the report states.
After traveling at high speed for two blocks, Lindemann pulled over for the officer off Beltline Boulevard, the report states. The officer reported a strong odor of alcohol coming from Lindemann, who also had slurred speech. When he stepped out of his car, Lindemann was unsteady on his feet, according to the officer's report.
Failed sobriety tests
After agreeing to a sobriety test, the officer asked Lindemann to recite the alphabet. The report states Lindemann told the officer he knew the alphabet and held a bachelor's degree. Lindemann failed to complete the alphabet, returning several times to the letter H, the report states.
Further tests revealed Lindemann could not count backwards from 32 to 18 and struggled to count his fingertips according to the officer's directions, the report states.
Lindemann was arrested and transported to police headquarters where he refused to take a breathalyzer test, used to measure a suspect's blood-alcohol level, the report states. He also refused to sign paperwork related to his arrest.
He was later released on bond.
"I hate that it happened," Motz said. "He just got a brand new baby. He's a real asset to the council. This is unfortunate."
Arrested in 1998
Wednesday's arrest wasn't Lindemann's first run-in with law enforcement. Lindemann, serving his first term in the seat representing Fort Mill and Tega Cay, was charged with drunk driving in Rock Hill in November 1998 at the age of 19, according to a S.C. Law Enforcement Division background check. The outcome of that arrest was not available at press time.
A search of York County Court records also turned up another DUI charge filed by S.C. Highway Patrol in September 2000. According to the record, Lindemann did not contest the charges and paid his fine before the trial date.
Seeking a second term in office, Lindemann, owner of Ocean Blue Properties, recently defeated former county councilman Jeff Updike in a June Republican Party primary. He faces Davenport and Smith in November's general election.
• Fort Mill Times reporter Jonathan Allen contributed to this report.