Crime & Courts

Report: SC man arrested for DUI, scuffles with police and bites patrol car parts

A man arrested for driving under the influence started biting wires in a S.C. Highway Patrolman’s cruiser and became agitated before officers had to subdue him, according to court records and a police report.

Police said they were called to a car wreck on Interstate 85 Thursday night in Spartanburg County. When they arrived, they reported finding Steven Douglas Pugh with an open bottle of alcohol in his car.

The trooper arrested Pugh and placed him in the back of his cruiser for driving under the influence. While the trooper and a Spartanburg deputy spoke outside the cruiser, the deputy noticed Pugh biting wires inside the vehicle.

“(Pugh was) using his mouth to destroy wiring in the patrol car,” the deputy’s report said.

The two officers moved Pugh into the deputy’s car, which had a partition, reports said. Police said Pugh started threatening the officers and became more agitated, the report said.

The officers had to switch out the handcuffs on Pugh, and that’s when Pugh freed one of his hands and pulled on the deputy’s bullet proof vest, according to the report. They scuffled, and Pugh threatened the deputy, saying he was going to punch the officer.

Instead, the officer punched Pugh in the face, reports said. Cars were racing by on the interstate so the deputy “utilized a closed hand strike to the face in an attempt to gain pain compliance,” the deputy wrote in his report. “This did work and (Pugh) released my vest.”

The deputy took Pugh to the ground and handcuffed him.

Pugh was charged with driving under the influence, an open container violation, driving without insurance and resisting arrest, records show. Pugh also had a suspended license, according to records.

Pugh’s blood alcohol content was .10. The legal limit in South Carolina is .08.

The incident was not captured on body camera due to user error, the deputy reported.

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David Travis Bland won the South Carolina Press Association’s 2017 Judson Chapman Award for community journalism. As The State’s crime, police and public safety reporter, he strives to inform communities about crimes that affect them and give deeper insight into victims, the accused and law enforcement. He studied history with a focus on the American South at the University of South Carolina.