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Orangeburg County magistrate suspended after DUI arrests, one in North Charleston

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An Orangeburg County magistrate was suspended this week by the S.C. Supreme Court after he was arrested for a pair of suspected DUI crashes in the past three years. 

Jacob Gillens Sr., 70, of Eutawville, received an interim suspension "from any and all judicial duties until further order" of the court, according to a notice filed Wednesday. 

"The County of Orangeburg is under no obligation to pay (him) his salary during his suspension," the order also stated. "Respondent is enjoined from access to any monies, bank accounts, and records related to any court in this state."

Chief Magistrate Derrick F. Dash was appointed to take charge of all "such monies, bank accounts, and records for Orangeburg County."

Dash declined to comment for this story. 

Gillens' defense attorney, Brad Hutto, said he had no comment. 

Both alleged DUI cases are being investigated by the S.C. Highway Patrol and are pending in Orangeburg and Charleston county courts. 

The first incident happened Sept. 28, 2017, in North Charleston. A Highway Patrol trooper was dispatched about 7:30 p.m. that day to a report of a crash on westbound Interstate 26 near the Aviation Avenue exit, according to an incident report.

A white Cadillac sedan was in a ditch and a black Ford sedan was on the shoulder. 

A North Charleston police officer already there told the trooper that Gillens was the Cadillac's driver, that he had been transported to a hospital for treatment and that he had "a strong odor of alcohol coming from his person and the vehicle," the report said. 

Troopers found a styrofoam cup in the Cadillac, three-quarters full of a cool liquid that smelled of alcohol, the report said. They also found a half-empty liquor bottle in the car. 

A trooper spoke with Gillens at Trident Medical Center, the report said. The trooper smelled alcohol on Gillens and noted he had bloodshot eyes. Gillens also admitted that he had poured alcohol into the cup about 5:30 p.m. along with some ice.

The trooper placed Gillens under arrest for DUI and for having an open container of alcohol in his vehicle, the report said. The magistrate declined to give a blood or urine sample. 

The second incident happened Jan. 31 at Five Chop and Birch roads in Orangeburg County.

According to an incident report, Gillens was driving a white Cadillac sedan which had crashed into a pickup.

The pickup overturned in a ditch, the report said. Gillens and the truck's two occupants were transported for medical treatment. 

A trooper spoke with Gillens at the hospital and noticed a strong alcoholic odor coming from him, the report said. 

Gillens refused to provide a blood or urine sample and was placed under arrest on a charge of DUI, the report said. 

His driver's license was suspended after each crash. 

Gillens was first appointed to his magistrate position in 1985, according to the Orangeburg County website. He served as the county's eastern region magistrate until his interim suspension. 

He was formerly employed as an education specialist in the county's Consolidated School District 5, according to the county website. 

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Reach Gregory Yee at 843-937-5908. Follow him on Twitter @GregoryYYee.

Gregory Yee covers breaking news and public safety. He's a native Angeleno and previously covered crime and courts for the Press-Telegram in Long Beach, CA. He studied journalism and Spanish literature at the University of California, Irvine.

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