People are outraged after watching a video showing a Myrtle Beach police officer arresting the driver of a white Mustang for reckless driving, alleging the driver spun her tires turning on 21st Avenue North.
The video, which has over 35,000 views on YouTube, shows the car pulling onto the road with a loud exhaust, but does not appear to leave black marks on the street. Ashley Carlton, who was driving the car, was arrested Sept. 3 around 9:40 p.m. in front of Carolina Ale House on U.S. 17 Bypass, online records show.
Andrew Sheridan, who recorded part of the video, is heard saying to the officer, “I heard she made some noise, why’s she being arrested? Why are you searching the car?”
The officer responds, saying, “Spinning the tires is called reckless driving. She’s going to jail, and the car’s being inventoried to be towed.”
Carlton said she spent three hours in the Myrtle Beach jail, and has to return from DeLand, Florida, on Oct. 11 for court.
Cpl. Thomas Vest, spokesman for the Myrtle Beach Police Department, said people can be arrested for reckless driving, but it is based on officer discretion and circumstances surrounding an incident.
In a statement from the police department Vest said, “Public safety is a shared responsibility and we continue to work towards educating those who live and visit Myrtle Beach in the importance of obeying our laws and ordinances to keep everyone safe. What has been put out is one perspective of this case. As in all cases, the judicial process needs to be respected as it will be resolved in the court system.”
Carlton and Sheridan, who is her boyfriend, have been attending Mustang Week for four years. They had just arrived in Myrtle Beach on Sept. 3 when they decided to go to a meet-up, but Carlton headed home early.
“I was at that light at that intersection, and actually people were yelling don’t do anything, there’s the police,” Carlton said. “I’m like I wouldn’t do anything anyway. I’m like the one in my friend group that’s always yelling at everybody not to do anything stupid.”
When Carlton saw the blue lights behind her, she pulled over, thinking she was going to get a ticket for her loud exhaust. When the officer came to her window, Carlton said he screamed at her to get out of the car and put her hands behind her back.
“He’s like ‘I saw you spinning your tires,’ and I was like ‘spinning my tires?,’” Carlton said. “’What are you talking about, I was just driving down the street.’ He was like not gonna hear it so I just complied.”
Carlton said she was not read her Miranda rights. Vest said Miranda warnings are read off during custodial interrogations.
A second officer in an SUV pulls up to the scene to transport Carlton to jail. Carlton said he did ask the other officer if they should give her a ticket instead of arresting her because she was complying with everything, but the officer who pulled Carlton over did not agree.
Carlton’s car was towed, the video shows, despite Sheridan having co-ownership of the vehicle, she said.
The decision to tow a vehicle is at officer’s discretion and based on safety concerns, Vest said.
In the video, the officer can be heard saying to Sheridan that Carlton admitted she spun her tires, but Carlton denies the claim. The officer is also heard saying he saw Carlton make the black marks on the road.
“Actually the marks, he was telling all my friends, ‘see those big black marks? She just made those,’” Carlton said. “And if you watch the video, my car is nowhere near the black marks. And the power of social media, I love it, because someone actually sent us a video today, I have a video of the person who did that.”
Carlton said she will not return to Mustang Week in Myrtle Beach. They did not cut their trip short because they run the YouTube channel Mustang Lifestyle and had a meet-and-greet planned Friday night, she said.
“It’s not fair to all these families,” Carlton said. “Some people only go on vacation once a year and this is their vacation and they should not have to be coming on their vacation and being scared. It’s not okay. If they moved the location, I would come back.”