Video shows councilman’s sobriety test and arrest

A screen grab from a Mount Pleasant police dash-cam video shows the field sobriety test of John Burn, a Mount Pleasant town councilman, Saturday night after police said his pickup struck a stopped car on Coleman Boulevard.

After crashing his pickup Saturday night, John Burn showed a responding police officer his identification card as a Mount Pleasant councilman and asked for the police chief to be notified, according to reports and a video from a patrol cruiser that was released Tuesday.

“I don’t need that,” the officer told the man clad in a tuxedo and bowtie, according to the video. “I just need your driver’s license, registration and insurance.”

Burn, 52, who was elected in late 2009, produced the ID card several times, but never found the proper paperwork, the police said. The officer later arrested Burn on suspicion of driving under the influence after the councilman lost his balance and said he didn’t know the alphabet during a field sobriety test, the video showed.

“Can we call Chief (Carl) Ritchie?” he told the officer. “He can vouch for me. Maybe that’s not appropriate, but he’ll tell you that I’m not a threat.”

“Unfortunately, I’m a council member,” he later said.

The video, released after The Post and Courier filed a S.C. Freedom of Information Act request, indicates the councilman’s demeanor after the wreck around 10:30 p.m.

The police said his pickup struck a stopped car on Coleman Boulevard. Two women inside the car were not seriously hurt.

During the field sobriety test, he lost his balance three times while standing on one leg. He also stepped off a dashed white line a few times. The officer said Burn hadn’t exactly followed his directions to touch his heel to his toes during the walk.

Burn later refused to take a breath test.