A police dashboard camera video taken the night of Paul Lindemann's drunken driving arrest shows the York County councilman struggling to recite the alphabet and unable to count backward from 32.
As a Columbia patrol officer prepares to deliver a field sobriety test on the side of a busy downtown street, Lindemann asks if there is any way he can “just go on back to Fort Mill,” where he lives.
“No, there is not,” the officer replies.
The video, obtained by The Herald through a Freedom of Information Act request, shows Lindemann, 29, correctly reciting the alphabet until he gets to the letter W. At that point, he returns to H and then skips to other letters.
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Asked to count backward from 32, Lindemann makes it to 30 before struggling to stay in order.
Immediately after the tests, an officer advises Lindemann he is under arrest, puts handcuffs on him and puts him in a patrol car. It was Lindemann's third DUI arrest since 1998.
Reached Friday morning, Lindemann declined to comment on the video and referred questions to his lawyer, Joe McCulloch of Columbia.
“I'm going to get everything resolved with the charge, and we're going to win in November as well,” the Republican Lindemann said of his re-election bid in the Nov. 4 general election.
Columbia police say Lindemann was “highly intoxicated” when he was pulled over on the night of July 16. Two motorcyclists told police that Lindemann's black 2008 Audi A4 nearly ran into them several times on Harden Street.
Lindemann was scheduled to appear in court last month, but his lawyer requested a jury trial, causing the case to be delayed. A court administrator told The Herald this week the new date might be scheduled for as late as November.
That means the trial could occur after the Nov. 4 election, in which the Republican Lindemann faces Democrat Marion Davenport and Green Party candidate Bryan Smith. The District 1 seat represents Fort Mill and Tega Cay.
Asked about his re-election prospects, Lindemann said his bid for a second term has been helped by Republican vice presidential nominee, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Her nomination has come under scrutiny after the revelation that her unwed 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, is pregnant, and allegations that she improperly tried to have her former brother-in-law fired from his state job.
“People have started to recognize that everybody who's running for political office is as human as those sitting back home,” Lindemann said.