Crime & Public Safety

Drunken driver nearly slams into patrol car

Deputy George Rioux was behind the wheel his patrol car, heading east on William Hilton Parkway early Friday morning, when he approached a curve near Indigo Run Drive on Hilton Head Island.

Then he saw the car -- on the wrong side of the divided highway, in the same lane he was in, headed right for him.

The Beaufort County sheriff's deputy slammed on the brakes, barely avoiding a head-on collision, according to his report on the 2:45 a.m. near miss.

"I observed the vehicle pass me and nearly hit my patrol car head-on," he wrote.

Rioux swung his car around and followed the one that almost hit him as it headed west in an eastbound lane of the parkway. The driver eventually stopped his car in the middle of the road, just before Indigo Run Drive, according to the report.

Rioux got out of his car and asked the driver, a 49-year-old Bluffton man, several times to move his car off the road out of oncoming traffic.

The driver refused and insisted he hadn't been driving the wrong way, according to the report.

Rioux ordered him out of the car.

He "had to use his vehicle for balance to hold himself up while speaking," Rioux noted in the report.

"... I could smell the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his person."

Rioux asked the driver how much he'd had to drink.

"Not much," he replied.

"I noted his eyes were glassy and bloodshot and his speech was extremely slurred," the report said.

He refused a breath test to measure his blood-alcohol level.

He was charged with first-offense driving under the influence and released from the Beaufort County Detention Center later that morning on a $997 recognizance bond, according to online jail records.