Chief, councilman at odds over DUI charge - FOX Carolina 21

Chief, councilman at odds over DUI charge

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Charlie Tillman (Courtesy: Index-Journal of Greenwood) Charlie Tillman (Courtesy: Index-Journal of Greenwood)

A Calhoun Falls councilman and the town's police chief disagree about the councilman's recent drunken driving arrest.

Charlie Tillman, 47, was arrested Monday morning after police said he was driving while drunk.

According to an incident report, when a police officer tried to stop Tillman's vehicle for speeding, Tillman kept driving. The report said Tillman eventually stopped at the Main Street Apartments.

"He did go to his home," said Calhoun Falls Police Chief Mike Alewine. "The chase was probably eight-tenths of a mile to a mile long. He made several turns like he was trying to elude (the) police officer. He could have easily pulled over (to the) side of (the) road."

Tillman said the officer may have followed his car for a while, but only activated his blue lights within a block of his home.

"I'm afraid for my life here, and this is about 150 yards from where I live," Tillman said. "So, no. I wouldn't stop. I didn't stop."

Police said that Tillman's speech was slurred, his eyes were red and he smelled of alcohol.

The report said that Tillman failed a field sobriety test, and a search of his vehicle revealed a silver flask with alcohol inside and a cooler with six bottles of beer in the back seat.

"He wasn't walking like the officer told him to walk," Alewine said. "He wasn't following directions like the officer told him."

Police said that while on the way to jail, Tillman cursed at the officer and made several racist comments. They said Tillman also made a threat to the life of the officer.

"I reviewed all the evidence (and) all of the video tapes," Alewine said. "Everything was done by the book."

Tillman admitted to FOX Carolina that he drank the afternoon of his arrest, but he said he was not drunk when he was stopped, driving home from a baseball game and cookout.

"I had a beer and I had drunk about four or five at the baseball game, but mind you this was from four o'clock in the evening to about 9:30 in the evening," Tillman said. "I'm spacing my beers 35 to 45 minutes apart."

Tillman was charged with driving under the influence, speeding, having an open container, threatening the life of a public official and failure to stop for a blue light. He has been scheduled to appear in court in June.

Tillman said it will be up to state officials to decide whether he will keep his seat on the Calhoun Falls Council.

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