MOUNT PLEASANT — With handgun drawn and aimed, officer Joe Zeitner shouts commands at the driver and passenger of a Ford Escape.
“Show me your hands! Let me see see your hands!” Zeitner yells.
He has backup from officers A.J. Santos and Chris Fieldings.
Zeitner’s relatively peaceful overnight patrol for drunk driving has suddenly become a high-adrenalin “felony stop” of auto burglary suspects.
Usually, he and Santos look for drivers who are impaired because of alcohol, drugs or both.
The police department has made about 200 impaired driving arrests this year. Another one happened about 30 minutes after the felony stop when Zeitner and Santos administer a sobriety test to an 18-year-old man who was reported to be weaving in traffic.
The DUI suspect has problems walking a straight line for Santos. Zeitner shines a light in the man’s eyes but his pupils remain dilated. A digital camera in a patrol car videotapes the officers and the suspect. Based on their observations, Santos and Zeitner decide to arrest the driver at about 12:30 a.m.
Mount Pleasant arrests more people for driving under the influence than any other municipality in South Carolina. In Saturday’s print edition, read about how their aggressive approach has yielded impressive results but drawn criticism for being slow to record arrests.
Read the full story in Saturday’s print edition of The Post and Courier.