A drunk driving trial of State Rep. Ted Vick was postponed Wednesday when a judge said she should could not guarantee the Chesterfield Democrat a fair shake because jurors discussed the case before the afternoon hearing began.
Vick was on trial for a 2012 drunken driving arrest in Five Points. He also was arrested from driving under the influence this year in the S.C. State House garage.
Chief Columbia Municipal Court Judge Dana Turner asked the jury pool if any of them had heard of Vick's case. Several jurors raised their hands, and Turner spoke to each one privately at her bench.
After speaking with the attorneys, Turner said she could not guarantee a fair and impartial trial with the current jury pool and postponed the hearing.
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Some potential jurors admitted they had discussed the case in a waiting room before the hearing, said Vick's attorney, state House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, D-Richland.
No new trial date was announced.
The case was scheduled for Wednesday morning, but Rutherford asked for a continuance because he had another court obligation in Spartanburg. All parties agreed to return to court at 3 p.m.
Assistant Columbia city attorney David Fernandez said several notices were sent to Rutherford's office to confirm the trial date, but Rutherford said his office receives a lot of mail, and he personally never confirmed the date.
Vick did not appear with Rutherford in court because he was called to training duty with the S.C. National Guard, Rutherford said, adding that he could be called in if needed to testify.
Vick was arrested in May 2012 for driving under the influence after police stopped him on Devine Street for speeding.
The lawmaker had been drinking in Five Points with a recent University of South Carolina graduate and offered her a ride home, the woman told police. At the time, Vick was running for the new 7th District congressional seat, but withdrew from that race after his arrest.
The 2012 incident is one of two unresolved DUI charges Vick faces.
Vick was arrested May 14 of this year after a state Bureau of Protective Services officer saw him stumbling in the State House parking garage before getting into his truck and running into a traffic cone.
That case was delayed in October after a judge ruled attorneys from the state Department of Public Safety had no authority to prosecute the case. Public Safety plans to appeal the ruling.