I-Team: Charges against Assistant Fire Chief are “odd”

Christopher Vanhoy doesn’t sound combative sitting in the back of the patrol car the night he was arrested.

“I apologize. I will apologize right now,” he said to the arresting officer.

But Hanahan Police Officers say he was agitated and uncooperative when they pulled him over in early November. He stopped after a minute of blue lights flashing, a siren sounding, and an officer commanded him to stop over the patrol car PA.  Eventually, they charged him with failure to stop for blue lights.

Defense attorney Scott Bischoff says that’s an odd charge for the situation.

“Failure to stop for blue lights is really designed to handle those who lead police on high speed chases,” he explained. “It creates a danger to the community.”

On scene officers didn’t administer field sobriety tests, though they reported he smelled like alcohol and slurred his speech.  Officers said Vanhoy was a flight risk.  The dashcam video shows him opening his truck door, and police said they presumed he was going to “bail out”.

“When the blue lights came on, was there an increase in speed,” Bischoff said.

He said if the suspect didn’t continue to fight or resist officers, it’s hard to believe he was a flight risk.

But because they didn’t do sobriety tests in the field, the Police Department says they couldn’t charge Vanhoy with DUI. Bischoff says that’s not necessarily true.

“He could have definitely charged him with DUI without the field sobriety tests” Bischoff told News 2. “It’s a combination of all the things the officer is observing that has to be taken into consideration in a short period of time on the scene.”

In the end, it’s at the officer’s discretion for what to charge a suspect.

Vanhoy’s court hearing was postponed Tuesday morning and his court appearance has been moved to a later date, most likely in January.

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