Lexington County solicitor pleads guilty to drunk driving charge - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Lexington County solicitor pleads guilty to drunk driving charges

May, 2001 photo May, 2001 photo

(Columbia) Aug. 17, 2005 - A longtime Lexington County prosecutor has pled guilty to drunken driving in North Carolina.

Donnie Myers, 60, was attending a prosecutors' conference when he was stopped in Asheville, North Carolina during the early morning hours of April 29th.

Officers informed him that he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.11 percent or 0.12 percent after two Breathalyzer tests, and they also found an open container. Drivers with blood-alcohol levels of 0.08 percent or higher are presumed to be intoxicated.

Myers says he'd been to a cocktail party six or seven hours earlier. He says he made the wrong choice to drive, trying to get food for his wife, who suffers from Crohn's disease.

Wednesday Myers says he pled guilty to driving while impaired, and he did not ask the judge for leniency or mercy.

His sentence, 60 days suspended on service of 12 months of unsupervised probation in North Carolina. He cannot drive for 30 days in North Carolina and must pay $400 in fines and court costs.

He issued a statement,

"It is my belief that a person should accept responsibility and be held accountable for his or her actions. For over 30 years, I have argued for accountability of others in some of the most heinous crimes our state has seen. This principle applies even more to me. I have taken responsibility and held myself accountable for my actions.

"Numerous lawyers in South and North Carolina have urged me to request a trial. I reject that advice and hold myself to a higher standard.

"I believe in our criminal justice system. It is a fair one that gives a person the right to have a jury decide his or her fate. But, I never considered asking a judge or jury to decide the issues. I decided them myself. Faced with a difficult decision the early morning hours of April 29, I made the wrong choice. I made a mistake. I was wrong. I am solely to blame. I alone am responsible. Therefore, on Wednesday I pled guilty to impaired driving in Asheville.

"I did not ask the judge for leniency or mercy. There is no excuse for my actions. Just because a person is a judge, lawyer, police officer, legislator, public official, or doctor, they should not be punished more severely. But as a Solicitor, I hold myself to a higher standard and deserve no leniency or mercy.

"I am ashamed and embarrassed. I apologize for my actions. I am especially sorry for embarrassing my wife, Vance, the citizens of the 11th Circuit, and my friends across South Carolina. I ask for your forgiveness and your continued friendship.

Donnie Myers turned in his county-issued car when he was stopped, and says he will not be asking for it back. He says he is asking that it be sold and the proceeds given to his office to hire another assistant.

He says he will also not be asking the county for mileage expenses as he drives his personal vehicle.

He admits his image has suffered since the incident, but says he remains an effective public advocate, "I've gotten more calls from victims saying, you're going to be our solicitor for our crime aren't you? You're going to prosecute that case, please. Some people say, 'Are you going to leave?' I'm not leaving. Some people say, 'You're not going to be here.' I'm going to be here. But they say we want you to prosecute the case where our husband was murdered, our mother was murdered, our daughter was raped."

Reported by Jack Kuenzie

Updated 11:00pm by Chantelle Janelle

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