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Wednesday, October 11, 2006



Where are the (people) that were on here demanding he resign right after the accident?

Andy Paras

This is Andy. I edited an expletive out of the last comment by Concerned Colletonian because I can't allow any expletives or name-calling on this site. If the author doesn't like the change, he or she is welcome to clean it up and re-submit it.


I demanded that he resign before the accident. I asked my friends to join me in asking Christ's mercy & healing for him after the accident. And, as I found Him to be good after my wreck, Bert, I'm sure, would tell you the same.

As to whether I deserve to be labeled with an expletive, I have no problem with that (crippled white guys & Okies,& I'm both, have an unnaturally high tolerance for abuse).

The mayor & Council were, by all reports, above the law; and that's why I asked for a resignation. If you disagree, thank my oldest son, who is in Army Ranger training right now, for risking his young life to protect even the rights of the shallow & loud.

I know from talking with the mayor that our desires for Cottageville are not very far apart. I wish I didn't, but I also know that a bad accident can make a man look to God, and more freely give himself to those that he loves most. I have no axe to grind. If he'll do what's right and get serious about complying with the spirit of the SC codes that guide municipal government, I'll be right beside him.


Mr. Paras -

I am curious about two things that weren't explained in your article in today's newspaper about Mayor Reeves.

1) do you think it's curious that the results of the blood test took nearly 10 weeks to become public? I would have found it interesting to know if this is an unusally excessive delay, and if so, why it occurred.

2) did you think it odd that the Mayor credits not wearing his seatbelt with saving his life? I'd love to hear an explanation of exactly how he climbed out of the driver's side window when the truck was still in motion, as he claimed, and how that statement contradicts your report that the truck ran off the road, hit a drainage culvert and flipped, ejecting him from the cab. Climbing and ejection seem hardly the same thing. Did you ask for an explanation of that discrepancy? Did the facts reported by you regarding his "ejection" reflect an official report of the incident? Finally, if the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics unequivocally demonstrates that fatalitites are reduced by the use of seatbelts, and it's a state law that a vehicle operator wear one, isn't it a little irresponsible to dismiss the Mayor's glib dismissal of that infraction and his claim that his life was saved as a result, without at least questioning his veracity and reporting his response?

Andy Paras

I'll do my best to answer these questions:

1) I was actually trying to find out the reason for the delay when I learned the results had become available. That changed the focus of the story and put the delay issue on the back burner, where it remains incomplete.

2) I'm not going to get into what I think is odd or not. That was his own recollection from a traumatic experience. Take it or leave it. It has nothing to do with the criminal aspect of the case. Even if it did, I'm not so sure I noticed a huge discrepancy. There was only one witness and he sustained a serious head injury.
Was I irresponsible not to grill him about not wearing a seatbelt and whether it saved his life? I don't think so. That's his opinion. Is it correct? I don't know but as a longtime crime reporter it definitely wouldn't be the first time that someone's life was saved by being ejected from the vehicle. Will most law enforcement and EMS officials tell you overwhelmingly that seatbelts give you the best chance of surviving a wreck? In my experience, absolutely. Hope that helps - Andy.


I'll settle to hear when your backburner story moves to a front one and you do complete it, because regardless of the circumstances or facts about the incident, we, the public, deserve to know if an elected official receives preferential treatment when it comes to the release of the results of a blood test.

And I do think it's lame that you let him off the hook with the declaration that he was addled when he "climbed" out the window, rather than the much more likely scenario, as you yourself reported, that he was ejected. You didn't answer my question about what that statement was based on, so I think I'll chose 'leave it' on that one, rather than 'take it'. I just don't buy the whole fishy story.

And, as an afterthought.....I don't think that the mayor's willingness to plead guilty and pay the fine for not buckling up makes him a particularly inspiring role model (if he even deigns to be one). It's not cool to think you can do the crime if you're willing to do the time, as they say. Especially for a mayor.

Andy Paras

I'm not sure I understand your points regarding my reporting: 1. How would withholding blood test results that exonerate the mayor benefit the mayor? Wouldn't it be beneficial to him to have the tests released as soon as possible? I'm sure he would have liked them released a whole lot sooner so he could clear his name sooner.

2. He said he was able to jump out the window before the truck flipped. Either that is true or he was ejected. I don't see how arguing either one makes a difference. He was the only one there. We all know the end result. He has a right to tell his side of the story. As far as your last statement in the second paragraph: My job isn't to convince you of anything.


He has his right to tell his side of the story. Apparently you feel it's merely your job to be his mouthpiece, rather than to take the tougher road to the heart of matters.

Since you don't understand the point of my comments, let me try to clarify them for you.

Point 1 about your reporting...it's sloppy. You didn't finish what you started, namely finding out and reporting why the results of the blood test were so long in coming.

Point 2....Your article stated that the Highway Patrol dropped the DUI charges against the man based on the test results. I guess we should just forget that there were beer cans strewn about and he was making an ass of himself to the officer on the scene (oh, right, injury trauma caused that, not anything that might have been emptied into his gullet as he careened along the highway!). Is it your belief, or that of Captain Woods, that blood test results can actually "refute evidence at the scene" like the attitude and the empties? Refresh my memory, if you will.....was it ever reported how many cans there were at the scene, and how many were empty and how many full? Take your head out of the sand, man. If the delay of the test results was out of the ordinary, perhaps the results themselves might have been influenced in some way, don't you suspect just a little bit? It wouldn't be the first time a public official used their influence to wriggle off the hook, and Reeves has certainly shown us that he knows how to wriggle. With the experience that you boast of as a longtime crime reporter, you must surely know that happens more than it ought to here in South Cackelaky. And if that were the case, it makes your question about whether the delay was beneficial or harmful to the mayor a moot one, doesn't it?

Point 2 about your reporting....you're far too gullible. If you believe that the man was able to jump out of the window of a truck he'd lost control of before it smashed into a culvert and flipped, miraculously saving his own life, then I'd say you should be writing fiction rather than reporting news.

Point 3...we count on the newspaper to know the end result. As you reported it, the mayor, with the recklessness of a felon (the real miracle is that he didn't kill someone else previously while he was speeding over 100mph in a 55mph zone), and his slick Savage lawyer were eager to proclaim their gratefulness for the blood test. I'll bet Savage has done plenty to supress blood test results for other clients that he's represented. So the end result, as we know it from your report, is that the mayor is a lucky survivor of a near-tragic set of circumstances, and he's fortunate enough to have been arrested and required to submit to a blood test. Fortunate, that is, since that's apparently the convincing argument that he's simply a victim of circumstances, not a negligent, habitual speeder who drives recklessly around curves on a tire he knows has been defective since the last wreck he was involved in. Lord knows, those traffic cops in Cottageville ought to be writing more tickets to guys like him.

And finally (truly, you have my word that you won't hear from me again..that gives you the zinger, okay?), you're absolutely right that you have no obligation to convince ME of anything. If I were your editor, though, we'd be having words about your responsibility to convince me, among others, that I should keep reading your paper....intentional avoidance of the word newspaper.

Andy Paras

Poseidon. I have no zinger for you. Feel free to write as often as you want. I didn't volunteer to do a blog to zing people or shy away from criticism. In fact, for the last few months I've been accused by many in Cottageville (including in some comments posted here) of being too harsh on the mayor - so I guess it only makes sense that I have someone criticize me for the exact opposite.

All things considered, the mouthpiece line is kind of humorous. I allowed the mayor to explain his side of the story in the last article because he was unavailable to comment about the wreck over the previous two months worth of stories. His comments about his perspective were clearly missing from all the repeated stories about the criminal charges and how fast he was going and his driving record. I'm sure people wanted to hear his explanation. I was curious. But it's not my job to form an opinion - and just because I let someone else express theirs does not make me gullible. I put the facts out there and let the readers decide. Yes, my job is to scrutinize and pinpoint the facts as best I can - and I do - but how he ended up outside the truck is not a major issue as far as I'm concerned. He was not being charged in connection with that. You the reader can decide for yourself whether you believe him.

As far as the blood test results, you're right, I probably should have pushed harder for an on-the-record explanation. In my defense, what I know up to this point includes more than what I've printed here. I haven't printed it here because it is still somewhat incomplete. I can tell you that so far that information has not given me any indication that your inference - that the State Law Enforcement Division tampered with blood test results as part of a conspiracy with the mayor of a town of about 1,200 people - is anyway true. Trust me, I would look into that story.

The rest of your post is your opinion based on facts printed in stories we published. I reported and wrote all of those stories obviously because I felt they needed to be written but, like I've said before, there's no need for me to form or express my opinion, if I had one. In all honesty, I think your beef is more with the mayor than me but like I said, feel free to write as much as you like. - Andy


Andy -

Your last response to me asked me to trust that you would have looking into it if you believed that SLED had altered the Mayor's blood test report. A story on the local television news report tonight pretty much evaporated any trust I might have been able to muster. I'd say you dropped the ball on this story, bigtime. We now learn it's still alive and kickin'! In your last post in this thread, you explained that there was more to the story than you were able to print at the time. Was that 'more' the fact, as I learned tonight, that the report stated there were sedatives and cannaboids in the Mayor's blood the night of his accident? If that's what you knew, why is it that we're only hearing about it four and a half months later? If that's not it, to just what the Sam HILL were you referring? Have those editors come knocking at your door yet? Or is there yet another plausible reason that you weren't willing or able to inform the public of another chapter in the epic saga of the Mayor and his inexcusable behavior? Maybe now you ought to ask for another interview with the town attorney, who proclaimed in the Newsless Courier shortly after the accident that he could PROVE the Mayor wasn't driving under the influence. I guess he meant driving under the influence of sound judgement. Boy ain't it amazing how the rules only apply to us common folk!


Oh, one more thing. You wrote: I'm not sure I understand your points regarding my reporting: 1. How would withholding blood test results that exonerate the mayor benefit the mayor? Wouldn't it be beneficial to him to have the tests released as soon as possible? I'm sure he would have liked them released a whole lot sooner so he could clear his name sooner.

Well, now I guess we know the answer to those questions. Don't be so sure. Be a reporter.

Andy Paras

Thanks for your comments. The report just became available late yesterday afternoon. I regret I could not report on it because I am off this week, moving to a new beat in Berkeley County.

I have forwarded the report to an editor and I expect the story to be reported as soon as possible.


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