VIDEO | SC 'Clean, thoroughbred, white girl' touts career, clean record to avoid DUI
BLUFFTON, S.C. (WCIV) - In-car audio and dash camera video released Wednesday by police do not contain a South Carolina woman's now-infamous alleged excuse for why she shouldn't be arrested and charged with DUI.
But the Bluffton Police Department's video of Lauren Elizabeth Cutshaw's DUI arrest does show her making desperate pleas to the arresting officer not to take her to jail, for a variety of reasons.
Cutshaw, 32, told the officer the night of her Aug. 4 arrest she'd been out celebrating her upcoming birthday before Bluffton police reportedly saw her run a stop sign at 60 mph, prompting the traffic stop.
Cutshaw told the officer she had had two glasses of wine that night. The officer, after determining Cutshaw had failed her field sobriety tests, asked how full those "couple" glasses had been.
"I mean, I was celebrating my birthday," Cutshaw said.
A search of Cutshaw's vehicle also uncovered marijuana and rolling papers, and police say Cutshaw admitted she "may have" smoked marijuana earlier that night.
"You know that stop sign that you blew through at 60 mph? There was a car that almost went through it right before you did," the officer told Cutshaw after placing her in handcuffs. "If they hadn’t seen you coming, you would’ve T-boned them and you could’ve killed somebody, and instead of a DUI, this would be a felony DUI and you’d be looking at 25 years."
(Read the full police incident report below, or CLICK HERE if having trouble seeing the document on your mobile device.)
When the officer placed Cutshaw in the back of his patrol vehicle, she seemed in disbelief.
"I’m going to jail? Really? I’m going to jail? I’m going to jail?" Cutshaw asks. "I’m really that bad? Are you serious? Really?"
During the ride to the police station, Cutshaw, sobbing throughout, repeatedly stresses she has a clean criminal history.
She becomes frustrated when that doesn't seem to count for much with her arresting officer.
"Can’t you see that in your system? Can’t you see?" Cutshaw asks the officer. "I’ve never been arrested my whole life ... I'm not trying to hurt anyone. I promise."
The officer tells Cutshaw he would've arrested her for reckless driving even if he hadn't suspected her of DUI.
Along with her self-professed spotless criminal record, Cutshaw also points out her apparently stellar academic record and her involvement in extracurricular activities as a student.
"I graduated from a really good university. I was almost the valedictorian," Cutshaw says. "I graduated with a 3.8 back in high school. I got a scholarship to my college."
"I was a 4.0 student," Cutshaw added later. "I was Who’s Who Among American High School Students. I was an All-American cheerleader."
Cutshaw also later told her arresting officer she had been a sorority girl and a dancer, an incident report shows.
Appeals to her prior track record not gaining traction, Cutshaw is recorded instead pleading to the officer to consider her career and how driving is an integral part of it.
"I’ve had to live my life being a good driver for my jobs," Cutshaw, a real estate agent, tells police. "I’ve had to live my life for that ... This is what I do for a living. I drive people around."
"Please don’t take that away from me," Cutshaw adds. "It’s not like I had clients in my car ... You pulled me over for driving too fast and you ruined my whole career."
Cutshaw even resorts to name-dropping a business partner she claims also is a law enforcement officer.
"My partner, my partner that I work with is a cop," Cutshaw says. "We do good. I promise we do good."
As the police cruiser gets closer to the detention center, Cutshaw becomes inconsolable.
"Please, I’ve never been arrested. I’ve never been to jail. Please, I don’t want to know what it’s like," Cutshaw begs the officer. "I’m a pretty girl. Please don’t make me go in there. I never did anything wrong! I’ve never done anything wrong, sir, I really haven’t."
It was inside the detention center, after the in-car camera was off, where police say Cutshaw began using her race and gender as excuses to avoid jail.
Cutshaw reportedly told the officer to consider the fact she was a "very clean, thoroughbred, white girl," police say.
When the officer says he asked what that had to do with anything, Cutshaw reportedly replied, "You're a cop, you should know what that means ... based on the people that come in this room."
Cutshaw was jailed on charges including drunken driving, disregarding a stop sign, speeding 25 mph or more over the speed limit, and marijuana possession. She has since been released.