York County Councilman Eric Winstead has pleaded guilty and paid a $1,022 fine for his December drunk driving arrest.
Winstead, who represents District 3, covering much of western York County, pleaded guilty to a first-offense driving under the influence – with a blood alcohol content of at least 0.10 but less than 0.16 – on Jan. 13 in the Bethel Kings Mountain Magistrate Court.
Winstead also was charged with driving with an open container of beer or wine, but that charge was dropped.
Winstead wasn’t immediately available for comment this afternoon.
According to a York County Sheriff’s Office report:
Around midnight Dec. 16, a deputy pulled Winstead over after noticing his vehicle was swerving. Winstead was riding with an empty and open Crown Royal whiskey bottle in the passenger seat. He failed road sobriety tests, with a blood alcohol level of 0.11 – above the legal limit of 0.08.
Winstead, a chaplain for Hospice Care of South Carolina, was driving back from an open house for a new location in Fairfield County when he was pulled over.
He has no prior criminal history in South Carolina, state records show. His driving record for the past 10 years lists one speeding violation of 10 mph or less.
Winstead’s court date had been set for later this month, but he moved it up, according to court records.
At a Dec. 26 York County Council meeting, Winstead apologized to the public and his family and said he wouldn’t comment on the matter further.
Following Winstead’s arrest, Glenn McCall, chairman of the York County Republican Party, said he would call together the party’s executive committee to discuss whether it would continue supporting Winstead or ask him to step down.
McCall decided not to call the meeting after talking with precinct officers in Winstead’s district and other party leaders.
“I talked with folks on the phone and the consensus was, since he’s up for re-election, see what the voters think,” McCall said Wednesday. “We’re not going to do anything.
“We’re just going to let the voters decide, if he decides to run again.”
County Council candidates, and those seeking other public offices, must file with elections offices in March.