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APNewsBreak: SC Gov's Driver Pulled For Speeding

A Highway Patrol trooper stopped South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's car for speeding and asked his protective detail driver why he was driving so fast, but let them go without issuing a ticket after he shook the governor's hand, a video released Wednesday shows.

State Department of Public Safety Director Mark Keel said he had reviewed the recording from Tuesday's stop and that the driver from the State Law Enforcement Division will now be cited.

In the video from a dashboard camera, Lance Cpl. R.S. Salter asks the driver, "You got a good reason for running 85?"

The agent from gets out of the car and walks toward the cruiser, credentials in hand and tells Salter he is driving the governor, to which the trooper replies, "Not a really good reason to be speeding."

"Tell him that," the agent says, walking back to his car.

Walking around to the passenger side of the sedan, Salter peers inside and greets Sanford. The two shake hands, Salter returns to his cruiser, and the agent drives off.

The speed limit on the stretch of Interstate 385, a heavily traveled route between Columbia and Greenville, is 65 mph, a public safety spokesman said

Sanford has been dealing with a criminal ethics investigation of his travel practices since he revealed an affair with an Argentine woman in June. State lawmakers have indicated they might try to impeach the Republican governor who has about 15 months left in his term.

Keel confirmed Salter clocked a speeding dark-colored sedan and pulled it over two miles from I-26. Keel said the driver identified himself as SLED agent driving the governor and the trooper did not cite him. The stop comes three years after Sanford's office was highly critical of the lieutenant governor when the Highway Patrol twice stopped him for speeding but did not issue tickets.

South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Chief Reggie Lloyd, whose agent was driving Sanford, said the ticket is appropriate.

"He did something that I thought was totally inappropriate, from the standpoint of the trooper, as well as the governor," said Lloyd, adding that his agency would investigate to see if the agent would be punished. "I think we as an agency owe Trooper Salter, as well as the governor, an apology."

Lloyd would not name the agent but said he is still on duty and is regularly assigned as part of the governor's detail.

Sanford spokesman Ben Fox referred questions about the stop to Keel's agency.

The governor's schedule included an economic development announcement in Gaffney in the morning and speech in Easley at a Rotary Club lunch in the afternoon. Sanford left Easley in black Ford Crown Victoria just after wrapping up an interview with a reporter 2 p.m. He had meetings scheduled in Columbia in the afternoon, but no public events, his office said.

Sanford travels in a state car operated by a detail of officers from SLED, the Highway Patrol and Department of Natural Resources.

The Republican governor is dealing with other problems. Since he returned from Argentina in June and confessed the affair, his air travel practices have been under scrutiny. The State Ethics Commission is conducting a criminal investigation based on reports from The Associated Press that Sanford, among other things, used state planes for political and personal purposes and didn't report trips on private planes owned by buddies and donors.

The Legislature is awaiting results of that probe to decide whether have a special session this fall for impeachment proceedings. Sanford said Tuesday he's done nothing that comes close to warranting removal from office. He has 15 months left on his term.

In February 2006, the Highway Patrol clocked Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer driving 101 mph but did not issue a ticket or warning. Saying he was driving himself home from a charity event at around midnight, Bauer apologized and said he didn't realize how fast he was>
A few months earlier, Bauer went unticketed for driving between 77 and 78 in a 65 mph zone. A repentant Bauer took to walking from his home to his office, strode 10 miles to file to run for re-election and eventually bought a tiny Smart ForTwo, joking it would keep him out of trouble.

The governor's spokesman said Sanford and then-DPS Director Jim Schweitzer "believe very strongly that preferential treatment should never be a factor when enforcing the law."

At the time, Bauer was preparing to file for the GOP primary and the news was a setback for his campaign.

Bauer declined to comment on Sanford's SLED agent speeding. A call to a number listed under the trooper's name did not go through and his highway patrol supervisor could not be immediately identified.


Kinnard reported from Blythewood, S.C.

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