Top National Guard official passes out drunk while “taking the trash out,” charged with DUI


A top official with the South Carolina National Guard was charged with driving under the influence.

At about 10:30 p.m. on Friday, Command Sgt. Major Russ Vickery was found unconscious in his car near a dumpster in his apartment complex on Knox Abbot Drive, according to the Cayce Department of Public Safety. The Advenir at One Eleven apartments in West Columbia are a block from the Blossom Street bridge and the Congaree River.

Vickery’s car was in drive, but he had passed out behind the wheel with his foot on the brake so the car wasn’t moving, according to an incident report.

A few moments after the officer tapped on the window to wake Vickery, he came to and looked “dazed and confused,” before fumbling around as he struggled to find the switch to roll down the window, according to an incident report.

The officer smelled alcohol from inside the vehicle after the window was rolled down, the officer said in the incident report.

Vickery, who failed a sobriety test and then tested .09% on a breathalyzer test, told police he was taking the trash from his apartment to the dumpster, according to the incident report. South Carolina law prohibits driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher.

Vickery confessed to the officer he had a “few” whiskey drinks earlier in the night, and he also had recently taken a prescription medication for high-blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, in addition to hydrocodone following a recent surgery, and a sleep aid, according to the report.

He was taken to the Lexington County Detention Center, where he has since been released.

“We are aware of the arrest and charges for Command Sgt. Maj. Russell Vickery,” South Carolina National Guard spokeswoman Capt. Jessica Donnelly told The State. “At this time, the South Carolina National Guard will not discuss the specific personnel actions that are being taken.”

There is no timetable for when actions could be taken against Vickery, according to Donnelly. Information about whether Vickery has been disciplined in the past by the National Guard for DUI, or any other incidents, was not available. He is a 37-year veteran of the National Guard, according to its website.

As the 12th State Command Sgt. Major of the Army and Air National Guard for South Carolina, Vickery is one of the top enlisted members of the National Guard in the state.

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