Politics & Government

Former Richland councilman got probation, fine after pleading guilty to DUI charge

VIDEO: Councilman Kelvin Washington Released From Jail On DUI Charge

Kelvin Washington has been charged with felony DUI after police say he struck a vehicle on Bluff Road on Saturday night.
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Kelvin Washington has been charged with felony DUI after police say he struck a vehicle on Bluff Road on Saturday night.

Former Richland County Councilman Kelvin Washington quietly pleaded guilty to felony DUI charges last October, ending a two-year legal case that began with a crash in lower Richland County.

Washington pleaded guilty Oct. 1 to a first-offense DUI and two counts of second-degree assault and battery, court records show.

He received a suspended three-year sentence with four years of probation, a fine and 72 hours of community service.

Washington paid $457.84 in fines and court fees, records show, in addition to losing $2,500: 10 percent of his $25,000 bond.

Mike Duncan, Washington’s attorney, said the former councilman was also ordered to pay restitution to two men injured in the crash, but he would not say how much.

On Feb. 27, 2016, Washington collided with a car that slowed down in front of him on Bluff Road near Martin Luther King Boulevard in Hopkins. The 22-year-old driver of the car was taken to the hospital with serious injuries and placed in an intensive care unit with severe bleeding in the pelvic area, S.C. Highway Patrol said.

A passenger and Washington were transported with more minor injuries.

Washington was freed on bond, and the case dragged on for two years without a court date being set.

A month after the crash, Washington was removed from office by then-Gov. Nikki Haley, but not because of the DUI charge. Haley cited Washington’s conviction for failure to pay three years’ worth of state income taxes. She called that an act of “moral turpitude,” for which a governor can remove a public official from office.

Washington is a public relations and transportation consultant who worked for more than 25 years at the S.C. Department of Transportation.

South Carolina Department of Public Safety has released the dash cam video of Richland County Councilman Kelvin Washington's DUI arrest.

Bristow Marchant is currently split between covering Richland County and the 2020 presidential race. He has more than 10 years’ experience covering South Carolina. He won the S.C. Press Association’s 2015 award for Best Series on a toxic Chester County landfill fire, and was part of The State’s award-winning 2016 election coverage.