A weekend traffic crash led to the drunken-driving arrest of a Charleston police officer and a felony drug charge for a man in the car his pickup crashed into, authorities said Monday.
Jovon Tierell Bonneau, 28, who has been a Charleston police officer since June 2010, was arrested early Sunday after he stumbled and swayed during a field-sobriety test in North Charleston, an incident report stated.
A breath test later indicated that his blood-alcohol content was 0.19 percent, according to the document. That's more than twice the legal driving limit of 0.08 percent.
When North Charleston police officers searched the car that Bonneau's truck hit, they found 20 small bags of methamphetamine, they said. Lashaun Q. White, 32, of Valcour Road on Johns Island, was arrested on a charge of possession with intent to distribute meth.
It was the first arrest in South Carolina for both men, according to the State Law Enforcement Division.
Bonneau was placed on unpaid leave, Charleston police spokesman Charles Francis said. He was off duty and in his own vehicle at the time of the wreck, Francis said.
His driver's license was suspended.
The events leading to the arrests started about 2:42 a.m. Sunday, as a North Charleston police officer worked an off-duty job at an IHOP restaurant. The officer reported seeing Bonneau's Dodge Ram rear-end a Toyota Corolla at a traffic light at Ashley Phosphate and Mazyck roads.
The Toyota's driver, 35-year-old Shanta Nelson of Betsy Kerrison Parkway on Johns Island, and the passenger, White, were hurt. Paramedics took them to Roper Hospital Diagnostics & ER Northwoods.
Bonneau was uninjured and steered his truck into the IHOP parking lot, police said. As he completed a crash report, the officer reported that he smelled alcohol on Bonneau's breath. Bonneau's eyes were red, and he often lost his balance while performing tasks during the sobriety test, according to the report.
Bonneau told the officer that he had two drinks at a bar "up the road," the paperwork stated.
Before he took the breath test at police headquarters, according to the report, Bonneau fell asleep. An officer said he awakened Bonneau so he could answer questions for a jail booking report.
Bonneau, a resident of Marinella Drive in Goose Creek, spent seven hours at the Charleston County jail before he was freed on bail.
Meanwhile, officers said they searched the Toyota while preparing to have it towed.
They found the small bags of meth in the glove compartment, police said. They weighed 6.7 grams, or about a quarter of an ounce.
At the hospital, White acknowledged that drugs were his, an incident report stated, and said that his girlfriend had nothing to do with it.
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.
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