A S.C. Highway Patrol deputy has been fired after he allegedly got drunk Friday night and gave the finger to a Columbia police officer, who was ordering him to leave the Colonial Life Arena parking lot.
Cpl. Eric Wayne Sox, 38, of Orangeburg, was booked Friday night at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of drunkenness and disorderly conduct after he became belligerent with University of South Carolina and Columbia Police Department officers. He was suspended without pay on Saturday and terminated on Monday, said Sherri Iacobelli, a Highway Patrol spokeswoman.
Cox, who was assigned to Troop Seven in Orangeburg County, was a 12-year veteran of the Highway Patrol.
Columbia police arrived at the arena 11:45 p.m. Friday after receiving a call about a fight in the parking lot. They found Sox amid a large crowd that USC police were trying to disperse., according to a Columbia police incident report. Country singer Eric Church had performed a concert at the arena.
Sox was being loud and boisterous and was unsteady on his feet and had slurred speech, the report said. He allegedly pushed a female companion in front of police. CPD Officer Peter Conklin ordered Sox to leave, the report said.
Instead, Sox presented his middle finger to Ofc. Conklin and refused to move, the report said. When Conklin told Sox he was under arrest, Sox sat down in the front passenger seat of a friends vehicle and refused to move. Conklin and several USC police officers pulled Sox from the car.
After the arrest, Sox told Conklin he was a corporal with the Highway Patrol. At that point, the Columbia officer notified his chain of command, who gave the Highway Patrol a courtesy call.
The S.C. Department of Public Safetys Office of Professional Responsibility investigated the incident, Iacobelli said.
In 2011, Sox was one of the Highway Patrols DUI Enforcement Heroes, receiving a bronze pin for making 10 to 24 DUI arrests during the year. In 2010, he made local headlines in Orangeburg after arresting a county sheriffs deputy on a drunken driving charge. The deputy later was cleared of the charge.
Reach Phillips at (803) 771-8307.