York County coroner could lose job

York County Coroner Doug McKown might lose his job again, and he might go to prison.

Or he could keep the office he returned to in June after a nearly two-year suspension.

The process that will determine McKown's future is scheduled to begin next week at the Moss Justice Center in York, S.C., the same complex where the 39-year-old coroner was acquitted of felony cocaine charges in May.

McKown was sentenced to a year's probation after being convicted in May of unlawfully possessing a prescription drug, a misdemeanor charge tied to a half pill of Viagra that police found in his home.

A hearing has been scheduled for 11:30 a.m. next Tuesday to determine if the probation case against the coroner will move forward. Last week, McKown was cited in North Carolina after authorities say he was drinking beer while driving a county vehicle and traveling with a man suspected of smoking crack cocaine.

McKown was arrested the following day in York County on a charge that he violated his probation by lying to a probation agent and supervisor about his N.C. arrest, not immediately notifying an agent of his arrest and leaving the state without permission, among other offenses.

McKown claims he wasn't drinking in North Carolina and his passenger, 43-year-old Eric Howell of Gastonia, wasn't using drugs.

Despite that, the York County Council voted late Monday to strip McKown of his county-issued Chevrolet Blazer through the remainder of his term, which ends this year.

Buddy Motz, council chairman, said Monday night: “We felt like, in a small way, we could show that we're not condoning it.”