NORTH MYRTLE BEACH — State Rep. Tracy Edge said his arrest early Thursday for driving under suspension was largely the result of a misunderstanding over a speeding ticket he received earlier this year.
Edge – a Republican who has represented District 104 since 1996 and is seeking re-election in November – was held at the city’s public safety building from 4:37 a.m. to 5:21 a.m. after he nearly struck a police vehicle before being charged with driving under suspension. Edge also was given a warning for driving left of center.
Edge said his license had been suspended as of Sept. 3 because he failed to pay a speeding ticket, but that he had taken care of the matter before his arrest on Thursday.
“It’s not nearly as bad as it’s played out to be,” Edge told The Sun News. “I had a court case come up on a speed violation on the last day of the [legislative] session. I had asked for continuance and thought it had been granted, and then found out last week that it had not been after getting a letter from the DMV stating my license had been suspended.”
Edge said he paid the fine for speeding and a reinstatement fee for his driver’s license earlier this week, but did not have the paperwork with him when he was stopped Thursday morning.
“If I had that [receipt] there wouldn’t have been a ticket at all,” Edge said. “If you have a speeding case come up and you’re not there and they convict you in a trial, you have 10 days to pay the fine or your license is suspended. I’ve already paid everything.”
Edge, a managing partner of Edge Holdings, has been a longtime vice president with Myrtle Beach real estate developer Burroughs and Chapin Co. Inc. Edge’s status with B&C was unclear Thursday, however. His name has been removed from a list of B&C executives on the company’s website. B&C spokeswoman Lei Gainer said the company does not comment on personnel matters. Edge also declined to comment on his employment at B&C.
Horry County court records show Edge was ticketed for driving 10 mph or less over the speed limit on May 17. He was found guilty in absentia during a bench trial on July 17, which was the last day of the legislative session for the state House of Representatives. Edge said he had requested a delay in that trial, but the delay apparently was never approved.
The May ticket was his third speeding violation since January 2011.
Edge was charged with speeding no greater than 10 miles per hour on April 29, and was found guilty following a bench trial on Aug. 14. Edge, who did not appear for that hearing, was fined an unspecified amount, according to the court records.
Edge also was charged with speeding no greater than 10 mph in Georgetown County on Jan. 28, 2011, and was found guilty during a bench trial on March 2, 2011. Edge, who did not appear for that hearing, was fined $81.50 and court records show he paid the fine on May 9, 2011.
In Thursday’s incident, a city police officer said he was traveling south on Ocean Boulevard at 41st Avenue North at 3:51 a.m. when he saw a blue sport utility vehicle leave a northbound lane of Ocean Boulevard and veer into the southbound lane, “almost colliding with my patrol vehicle,” according to a police incident report.
The officer stopped the 2008 Ford Expedition, identified Edge as the driver and discovered that his license had been suspended for failure to pay a traffic ticket, according to the report. Edge told the officer that he had paid the fine and a reinstatement fee by mail on Monday, but he did not have proof of the payment in his possession.
The officer noted in his report that Edge “was sober and stated that he had taken his eyes off the road for a moment and started to swerve into oncoming traffic.”
The vehicle was released to Edge’s brother after Edge was handcuffed and taken into custody, according to the report.
Edge was released from the North Myrtle Beach jail after posting a $653 cash bond. A trial date is scheduled for Oct. 24 at the city’s courthouse.
Edge won the June Republican primary and is set to face Democratic challenger Charles Randall in November’s general election.
Edge and his family have been at the center of a recent lawsuit filed by former city police Sgt. Jeff Senter, whose confrontation with Edge’s wife, Melissa, was caught on a dashcam video and eventually led to his firing. Senter’s 60-page lawsuit, filed July 10 against city officials and others, accuses them of conspiring to have Senter fired from the public safety job he held for 12 years. That lawsuit is pending.
Contact TONYA ROOT at 444-1723.