A long-time Orangeburg County magistrate wants a jury to decide if he was driving under the influence.

Jacob Gillens Sr., 68, of 117 Dingill Lane, Eutawville, was scheduled to appear in the North Area 2 Magistrate Court in North Charleston on Wednesday morning, but his attorney filed paperwork saying Gillens wants a jury trial instead.

Sen. Brad Hutto is representing Gillens, who’s accused of driving under the influence during a Sept. 28 crash on Interstate 26 westbound near the 211 mile marker.

The S.C. Highway Patrol reported Gillens was operating a 2013 Cadillac when he ran off the left side of the roadway and struck the median wall. He came back across the interstate before sideswiping a 2017 Ford and ending up in a ditch, according to the SCHP.

Gillens underwent medical treatment for minor injuries at Trident Medical Center in North Charleston.

Troopers allege they found a cup with liquid that smelled of alcohol and a half-empty bottle of liquor in his backseat during a routine check of Gillens' car. They further allege that he admitted to pouring the alcohol in the cup earlier that evening.

Gillens refused to submit a blood sample, causing his license to be suspended, according to the SCHP.

If convicted, Gillens faces a fine of up to $400, up to 30 days in jail, 48 hours of community service or a six-month driver’s license suspension.

Gillens is also accused of violating the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, which regulates the transport of alcoholic beverages. The charge is a misdemeanor and carries with it a maximum fine of $100 and a maximum jail sentence of 100 days if convicted.

Gillens was first appointed a magistrate for Orangeburg County in 1985. He serves as an eastern region magistrate.

Contact the writer: mbrown@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5545. Follow on Twitter @MRBrownTandD.


Crime Reporter

Martha Rose Brown covers crime and other topics. The South Carolina native has been a journalist for the past 15 years.

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