Associate Citadel professor arrested for DUI after tailing vice president’s motorcade

Catherine Burton

A Citadel associate professor was arrested and charged with DUI after ignoring barriers and driving up behind Vice President Joe Biden’s motorcade Thursday night, according to the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office.

Catherine Elizabeth Burton, 48, of Renee Drive in North Charleston, an associate professor of criminal justice at the military college, was charged with driving under the influence and failure to stop for blue lights.

The Citadel had not made a decision on her status at the school.

“A decision has not been reached on Ms. Burton’s teaching duties going forward,” Col. Brett Ashworth said Friday afternoon. “The welfare of our cadets, students, faculty and staff is our first priority. She is being offered support through the college’s Employee Assistance Program.”

Burton was arrested about 8:30 p.m. Thursday after being observed driving on Interstate 26 toward North Charleston after the motorcade had passed, according to the incident report. The interstate was closed to traffic while Biden was escorted from downtown Charleston to the airport.

Here’s what happened, according to the incident report.

A deputy pulling up to the rear of the motorcade spotted a black BMW SUV driving below the speed limit in the right lane near Spruill Avenue and turned on his blue lights and siren. The SUV eventually pulled off on Azalea Drive and stopped but then started moving again as deputies approached. Burton ran over stop sticks laid down on King Street extension near Hackemann Drive and was finally blocked by deputies while trying to make a U turn at the end of Summerville Avenue, according to the report.

Deputies noted bloodshot watery eyes, slurred speech and an odor of alcohol. A field sobriety test was not given, and she refused a breath test after her arrest, according the report.

It was her first DUI arrest, and she told deputies she had consumed several beers at a restaurant, according to the report.

Burton told deputies she didn’t see any officers blocking I-26 when she got on at King Street and didn’t stop when she saw the blue lights because she didn’t think they were after her, according to the report.

Burton’s was released from jail Friday on $5,997 bail.

Biden was in Charleston at an event at the Gaillard Center honoring outgoing Mayor Joe Riley.

Reach Dave Munday at 843-937-5553.