Charleston police: Man found disoriented on Drum Island swam there after getting drunk

A man found stumbling and disoriented on Drum Island on Sunday arrived there after a drunken swim across the harbor from Mount Pleasant, Charleston police said.

Stephen Coffee, 35, of Moore Drive in Charleston, told police he began drinking heavily after working at Art’s Bar and Grill on Coleman Boulevard in Mount Pleasant, according to an incident report.

Coffee told officers that the next thing he remembered was swimming “for a really long time,” police said. Once he reached Drum Island, he tried for hours to “call out for a blanket or coat because he was freezing,” a police report stated.

Coffee was unable to remember how he got into the water from the bar because he was extremely intoxicated, a police report stated.

Authorities received a call about 8:10 a.m. that a man was stumbling around on Drum Island, a tiny slice of land beneath the Ravenel Bridge on the Columbus Street side of the Cooper River, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Runners on the bridge were the first to spot him.

The Coast Guard and the North Charleston Fire Boat responded, and Mount Pleasant firefighters rappelled from the bridge to reach Coffee, police said. Officers noted that Coffee went back and forth between floating in the shallow water and lying on the shore in a fetal position, an incident report said.

Emergency workers spoke with Coffee, who was conscious but disoriented, and he denied jumping from the bridge, according to the Coast Guard. He later explained details of his swim to police, the police report stated.

He was taken by boat to the Sea Breeze Marina, where Charleston County EMS waited to take him to Medical University Hospital for evaluation. The incident was over about 9 a.m.

Coffee did not appear to have severe injuries, police said.

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