A Bamberg woman who was nine months pregnant was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and other offenses after police stopped her vehicle for having an improper license tag.
On July 2, an officer on patrol noticed an SUV at a local gas station with a paper tag that had an improperly displayed date marked on it. There were two female occupants inside, and the officer waited to see if they would drive out onto the highway before conducting a traffic stop. He noticed the females behaving suspiciously and acting nervous. The driver then moved the vehicle from beside the gas pump to beside the air station and put air in the tires.
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The officer called another officer for assistance before he made any contact with the vehicle. Once assistance arrived, the vehicle drove out onto a street a short time later, and the officer was able to get behind it. The driver was in the process of turning onto another street and did not turn on her turn signal until halfway through the turn. The officer then conducted a traffic stop and asked the driver for the vehicle information.
The driver admitted her driver’s license was suspended but stated she had insurance. She was not able to provide any proof that she owned the vehicle nor having any insurance on it. The assisting officer asked for consent to search the vehicle, but she said no. At this point, the originating officer had both the driver and passenger step out of the vehicle and placed the driver under arrest for driving an uninsured motor vehicle.
Once the officer secured the driver in the rear seat of his patrol car, he conducted a search around the vehicle’s driver’s seat area. He removed her purse and placed it on the hood of his patrol car. He found a suspected methamphetamine pipe inside a small zip-up bag inside her purse. While waiting on the tow truck to arrive to remove the vehicle from the scene, the officer had the assisting officer move the cuffs from behind the driver to the front due to her being nine months pregnant and having pains in her wrists.
The driver was then charged with improper license tag improper, first-offense driving under suspension, possession of drug paraphernalia and got a warning for making an improper turn. The officer then transported the driver to Bamberg County Detention Center while the assisting officer gave the passenger a courtesy ride to her home. Once arriving at the detention center, jail officials made the officer take the subject to the emergency room for medical clearance due to her pregnancy. Once cleared, he transported her back to jail.