Crime & Courts

Drunk driver sprayed Axe in his mouth to mask the smell of alcohol, SC deputies say

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A man charged with drunken driving in South Carolina was spraying Axe body spray in his mouth when deputies approached, in an apparent attempt to mask the odor of alcohol.

Deputies pulled over a vehicle on Interstate 85 in Spartanburg County on Saturday night after the driver passed a deputy at a high rate of speed and swerved into another lane of travel, according to a Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office incident report.

The driver, identified as Efren Mencia-Ramirez, “was spraying Axe body spray in his mouth when (the deputy) approached to cover the smell of alcohol on his breath,” the report states.

There was a 12-pack of beer on the passenger floorboard, and 11 of the 12 beers were open, deputies said. Ten of the beers were nearly empty.

Mencia-Ramirez, who had an open bottle of beer between his legs, smelled of alcohol and exhibited signs of intoxication while talking with officers, according to the report. He was arrested for driving under the influence after failing multiple field sobriety tests.

At sheriff’s office headquarters, Mencia-Ramirez provided a breath sample that yielded a .15 blood-alcohol content, nearly twice the legal limit for operating a vehicle in South Carolina, according to the report. He was charged with DUI, open container, no proof of insurance and no valid S.C. driver’s license.

Teddy Kulmala covers breaking news for The State and covered crime and courts for seven years in Columbia, Rock Hill, Aiken and Lumberton, N.C. He graduated from Clemson University and grew up in Barnwell County.