SC Rep. Bakari Sellers facing DUI charges

ashain@thestate.comFebruary 7, 2013 

State Rep. Bakari Sellers, considered a rising South Carolina Democratic star, said Wednesday that he was pulled over for driving under the influence after a South Carolina football game last fall.

Sellers said he declined to take a breathalyzer test when sheriff’s deputies stopped him on Interstate 77 in Chester County on Oct. 7 hours after the Gamecocks beat Georgia 35-7. Sellers, an attorney who lives in Bamberg County south of Columbia, said he was traveling to visit family in Charlotte.

After taking a field sobriety test, Sellers said he was detained several hours. He was released after paying $997 in bond, according to Chester County court records.

Sellers, 28, has asked for a jury trial. He declined to say how he will plead.

“Sometimes we all make mistakes,” Sellers told The State. “If you want a perfect politician, I’m not him. I should not have put myself in that situation.”

Sellers’ license was suspended for six months for refusing to take the breathalyzer test, but he said the suspension was dismissed a January hearing. He did not give a reason how he was able to get his license back three months early. Sellers said he used a provisional license that allowed to him to drive to work before then.

WIS-TV promoted a report scheduled to air today about the arrest that includes a dash camera video of the lawmaker taking a sobriety test, Sellers said. The camera indicates the video was taken in December 2011, but Sellers said he has been pulled over for DUI only once in October.

In the past, the four-term House member said his license has been temporarily suspended a couple of times for failing to pay traffic tickets.

Sellers, whose name is mentioned for statewide office, was featured a 2010 Time magazine story highlighting rising politicians under age 40 and has appeared on national cable news shows.

“I will continue to be effective in the General Assembly,” he said.

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