Boozing professor at Citadel got DUI when crashing motorcade route of Vice President Joe Biden
CHARLESTON, S.C. — A professor at the Citadel, Dr. Catherine Burton, who is an associate professor of criminal justice with advanced degrees in alcohol and drugs was charged with DUI on Dec. 3, 2015 at 8:43 pm by Charleston Sheriff’s Deputy C. Craven.
Dr. Burton was arrested after being intercepted from crashing the motorcade of Vice President Joe Biden on I-26. The motorcade was traveling from an event in downtown Charleston to the Charleston International Airport and all roadways were closed to traffic, according to the incident report charging Dr. Burton with impaired driving. Biden had been in Charleston to attend an event honoring long-time Charleston Mayor Joe Riley.
The deputy stated that he and Deputy H. Martin were in place at the rear of the motorcade and with all of their emergency lights flashing when Burton’s vehicle was traveling slowly in the far right lane. The deputy stated that due to the roadway being closed to civilian traffic he attempted to stop Burton’s vehicle using lights and siren but all to no avail. Dr. Martin ignored the police cars and continued on her merry way.
As the intrusion of a vehicle near the Vice-President’s motorcade at a time of international warfare with ISIS and terror attacks on soft targets in California, Paris, and other locations, the law officers took the acts of what turned out to be an older college professor with too many hot toddies under her belt very seriously.
Deputy Craven reported that he then drove alongside Dr. Burton’s vehicle and observed the driver as a white female who appeared to be impaired.
The deputy took about every possible action in his arsenal of tactics to pull over the driver short of shooting out her tires. But that would soon be tried as deputies deployed stop sticks, which flatten the tires of a suspect. In Dr. Burton’s case, even that did not work. She drove over deployed stock sticks and she kept on truckin’.
When Burton reached the Cosgrove Ave., exit ramp and attempted to exit the interstate she reached a North Charleston Police car with its blue lights activated which were blocking the ramp. As if she were the wheelman for Burt Reynolds in Smokey and the Bandit, she drove around the blocking cruiser and headed onto Cosgrove Ave., to Azalea Drive where she drove for a short distance before pulling over onto a grass shoulder.
Deputies then attempted what is referred to as a “felony traffic stop” where extreme caution is exercised by officers who have reason to believe a person may be a fugitive or armed.
Burton sped on for several blocks before hitting the stop sticks. After blowing out the tires on the left side of her vehicle, Burton continued at speeds of 35 to 45 mph.
Now Burton turned into a dead end road, but she was undaunted. She made a U-turn and was facing a Christmas event of a mass of police cars flashing their blue lights and blocking her way.
Burton was stopped and carefully removed from her car.
Any episode of “Cops” will provide the reader with an idea of what that is like as lights are trained on the driver, she is ordered by loudspeaker to follow specific instructions on turning off her ignition, showing her hands and carefully exiting very slowly, from her car and lying face down on the pavement.
Deputy Craven said she was patted down for weapons and assisted from her prone position on the ground.
“While detaining the suspect, the R/D observed her have bloodshot, watery eyes, slurred speech and the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from her person,” stated Deputy Craven.
The officer reported that Burton answered that she didn’t have any physical impairments, but he felt that the “level of impairment” prevented her from doing any field sobriety tests and he then sent her back to the classroom where she likely had lectured her classes on officers reading suspects their Miranda rights.
Once back at the station Burton was given the opportunity to provide a breath test and her college skills must have kicked in and she refused.
Burton then got rather chatty with the officers and admitted to having consumed several beers at a restaurant before driving and that on a scale of one to ten of inebriation she believed that she would weigh in about a “three or four.”
When asked why she didn’t stop for the police cars blocking I-26 she said she didn’t see any.
She also was asked why she never stopped for any of the caravans of police cars that attempted to pull over and stopped only when she was trapped.
“She saw the police cars but didn’t think they were for her,” stated the deputy.
Perhaps she has a personal color of police lights.
A possible crash into the motorcade carrying the Vice President was more poignant in that his infant daughter and first wife were killed and his two sons injured in a car crash in Delaware on Dec. 18, 1972.
Several times Biden had made remarks that the crash was caused by a drunk driver but later recanted, as did NRP when it first reported that assertion made several times by Biden.
Biden later apologized to the family of the truck driver who had hit his wife after press reports noted that his wife had not obeyed a stop sign and pulled into the path of the trucker, who was not charged. Regardless of the fault of the drivers in that crash, Biden still suffered a deep personal loss due to a highway crash that came a month after he had been elected to the U. S. Senate at the age of twenty-nine. Comments about articles on Biden’s statement were clearly sympathetic to him or anyone who suffered such a tragic loss as did the young Senator for misstating the facts.
Burton will appear before a trial magistrate on Dec. 14, 2015. A Charleston television station, Live 5, reports that the Citadel had not commented on Burton’s status as a teacher.
Given that Burton has not yet been convicted of DUI, it is likely that the college will take no action.
Burton will now be able to impart her hands-on experience to her students about the issue of impaired driving and interpersonal relationships with police when it comes to pursuits, felony traffic stops and even a possible upcoming stay in the hoosegow.
The Citadel website contained the following information:
Dr. Catherine Burton is an associate professor of criminal justice at The Citadel. She earned an undergraduate degree in political science as well as a master of criminal justice degree from the University of South Carolina. She holds a doctorate of philosophy in sociology/criminology from Louisiana State University. Her areas of specialization include organized crime, gangs, and the impact of race and ethnicity on crime and the criminal justice system. Her publications include In the Margins: Special Populations and American Justice (Prentice Hall), and she is currently working on a book examining transnational organized crime.
EDUCATION Ph.D. Sociology, Louisiana State University, 2001. Dissertation: The Impact of Segregation and Poverty on Latino Homicide Victimization in the United States Certificate of Graduate Study Alcohol and Drug Studies, University of South Carolina, 1992. M.C.J. Criminal Justice, University of South Carolina, 1992. B.A. Political Science, University of South Carolina, 1989.
AREAS OF SPECIALIZATION Transnational Organized Crime Gangs Race/Ethnicity and Crime
EMPLOYMENT Associate Professor, Department of Criminal Justice, The Citadel, 2012-Present. Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice, The Citadel, 2008-2012. Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice, The Citadel, 2005-Present. Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Justice Studies Program, Georgia Southern University, 2001-2004.