CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Authorities have arrested a 23-year-old man who officers say drove an SUV with a parking boot down a street in downtown Charleston.
The Charleston Police Department arrested Richard Herndon Hughes and charged him with reckless driving and damage to personal property.
Investigators say it all started on Friday around 12:45 a.m. when several police officers heard a loud noise coming from the area of South Market and State streets.
When officers arrived on the scene, they saw a slow moving Ford Explorer SUV with its rear side tire flat which was starting "to come apart."
Officers reported after they pulled the SUV over, the driver, later identified as Hughes, got out of the vehicle and began looking at the flat tire. A police report states Hughes' mother, who was seated in the passenger seat, began scolding Hughes about "trying to drive with that thing."
Hughes told police that he was "hoping to make it just up to the Piggly Wiggly to change his tire."
A police officer told Hughes there was no Piggly Wiggly in the city and that the damage to his SUV appeared not only to include the tire but the wheel's suspension, trimwork and running board.
When police asked Hughes how his SUV received so much damage, Hughes said there had been a parking boot on his vehicle and he had tried to drive with the boot still attached to the wheel.
Hughes claimed he had parked in a "lawyer lot that you can park in for free after hours" near a store on State and Cumberland streets. CPD officers reported as they spoke to Hughes, his mother continued to yell at him about driving with the parking boot attached and for not having a spare tire.
Police say they noticed Hughes was responding to his mother and officers with slow speech and seemed "slow" to grasp or comprehend questions and instructions from the officers. Hughes told the officers he had three drinks.
Authorities then searched the area for the parking boot and found the "mangled" device on State Street just north of Cumberland Street.
A manager for the company that owns the device said it was installed on the SUV which had been parked in a reserved space in a private lot on State Street Thursday night.
Officers say they observed a warning notice on the ground at the parking lot along with pieces of gray plastic consistent with broken pieces from the SUV.