Thomas Ravenel Faces DWI Charge in East Hampton, NY

7:25 PM, Jul 22, 2013   |    comments
Thomas Ravenel
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East Hampton Village, NY (WLTX and T.E. McMorrow, The East Hampton, Star)

Former South Carolina State Treasurer Thomas Ravenel was arrested early Monday in New York on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

The East Hampton Village, New York police pulled Ravenel over around 2:30 a.m. on the Montauk Highway.

An incident report filed by the agency says an officer observed Ravenel crossing over the road's white line onto the shoulder, and later crossing over the center solid double yellow line.

The officer wrote in the report that Ravenel "smelled strongly of an odor of an alcoholic beverage" and was "unsteady his feet." It also says Ravenel said he had been drinking alcoholic beverages earlier.

The document says once back at the police station, Ravenel refused to submit to a breath test. He was charged wtih operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, driving on shoulder, and failure to keep right.

The East Hampton Star reports Ravenel appeared in court Monday afternoon for an arraignment.

"He's playing polo. He's part of the Southampton Polo team," Trevor M. Darrell, a local attorney who acted as Mr. Ravenel's lawyer, said to Justice Catherine A. Cahill during the hearing.

"I'm a real estate developer," Ravenel told the justice, when she asked him what he did for a living.

"Does he have any priors," the justice asked Mr. Darrell.

"He has one prior in South Carolina. It was a federal matter," Mr. Darrell answered.

The justice initially set bail at $750 cash, but Ravenel told her he could only access $600 with his debit card, adding that he also had $65 in his wallet.

"Okay. $650," Justice Cahill said.

Ravenel pleaded guilty to a federal cocaine charge back in 2008. When he was indicted on the charge in 2007, he resigned as the state treasurer, a position he'd won just months earlier by unseating longtime incumbent Grady Patterson.

It put a halt to Ravenel's plans to follow in his father Arthur's political footsteps. His dad served for decades in both the U.S. House and the South Carolina Legislature.

Ravenel also unsuccessfully ran against Jim DeMint in 2004 for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.

Ravenel owns the Ravenel Development Corporation and has a plantation near Charleston. There's been speculation he wants to politics, and in January posted on his Facebook page that he was "considering a comeback." 

He's set to appear in an upcoming reality TV show on Bravo called "Southern Charm."  The program will feature young aristocrats in Charleston and southern plantations.

Mr. Ravenel is due back in East Hampton Town Court on Thursday.

(used with permission)

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