CARTA executive director arrested, charged with disorderly conduct

CARTA executive director arrested, charged with disorderly conduct

The executive director of Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) was arrested Tuesday night after a drunken altercation with the door staff of a downtown Charleston hotel, according to police.

Christine Wilkinson, 44, was arrested by Charleston police last night and charged with public disorderly conduct.

According to an incident report, police were called to Grill 225 at Market Street Pavilion around 9:42 p.m. in reference to a "possible intoxicated driver."

The door staff told police Wilkinson drove up to the valet stand, but declined service, instead telling a door staff member she was only there to get ice cream. After being told she would need to find a legal parking spot, Wilkinson drove off, but returned to the loading zone about two minutes later.

The report states staff once again asked if Wilkinson would like valet service. This time she allegedly said she was waiting for friends, but gave "a name that did not make any sense. The door staff then called police.

Officers say "a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage" was emanating from Wilkinson, her eyes were blood shot, and her speech was slurred. When asked to get out of her vehicle due to the "possibility of her endangering herself or others," Wilkinson allegedly staggered on the road way.

According to the report, Wilkinson asked police "to let her go because she worked for Mayor Joe Riley and has given 20 years of her life to this city," when  told she was being placed under arrest for public disorderly conduct for being grossly intoxicated. She also reportedly told the cop, "You could give me a break if you wanted to."

Wilkinson was arrested and transported to the Charleston County Detention Center.

CARTA Board Chairman Elliott Summey released the following statement Wednesday afternoon:

"I have been made aware of the situation involving CARTA Executive Director Christine Wilkinson and the authority is in the process of investigating the incident with local authorities. We will discuss our findings with the CARTA board of directors today in executive session."

Summey said the board has met and he will speak with Wilkinson later this week. He also said Jeff Burns will be overseeing the organization and reporting to the board for now.

Copyright 2014 WCSC. All rights reserved.