Horry County Schools board member resigns after DUI arrest last week

Horry County Schools board member Holly Heniford announced her resignation Monday, 10 days after she was arrested and charged with DUI.

HCS board chairman Ken Richardson confirmed he received the resignation letter from Heniford and accepted it.

“It is with regret that I am hereby submitting my resignation from the Horry County Board of Education effective immediately,” the letter reads. “After much contemplation and soul searching over the past week, I came to the conclusion that my resignation from the board was the proper action for me to take so that the important work of the Board members in providing excellent educational opportunities for our students will not be distracted from by my personal situation. My number one goal as a board member for District One has always been to put the needs of the children first. It is with this goal in mind that I believe my resignation is necessary at this time.”

Richardson said the board will move forward, likely with a temporary appointment until a special election can occur. He said he’s not sure of the exact process because he’s never gone through something like this. He’ll have more information to share about the process during the board’s Sept. 23 meeting.

Heniford was arrested Sept. 6 and charged with DUI by North Myrtle Beach Police, though she reaffirmed her commitment to the children and staff in the district in a statement to The Sun News a few hours after posting bail.

Heniford then elected to skip last week’s board work session, sending a statement that she didn’t want to be a distraction but also resigning as chairwoman of the newly created Policy Committee.

According to the police report, North Myrtle Beach officers noticed a silver SUV stopped in the middle of the road about 5:45 p.m. near the southbound Highway 31 exit onto Robert Edge Parkway. Several vehicles were parked on the shoulder of the road and numerous people were standing next to the driver side door of the SUV, police said.

One of the bystanders told police that the driver was asleep and had just woken up, and police noted the driver was lethargic with slurred speech during initial questioning. Once the driver exited the vehicle, police officers identified her as Heniford from her driver’s license.

Police also noticed a strong odor of alcohol on her breath, bloodshot eyes and that she was unsteady on her feet, according to the report. Police then subjected Heniford to numerous field sobriety tests, determined that she was impaired and placed her under arrest for DUI, the report states.

After being taken to the North Myrtle Beach jail, Heniford refused to consent to a Blood Alcohol Content test and, as a result, her driving privileges in South Carolina were immediately suspended, according to police. Her vehicle was towed from the scene, the report adds.

Heniford, who is also a licensed real estate broker, was first elected to school board in 2014 to represent District 1, which includes most of North Myrtle Beach and part of Myrtle Beach. She was re-elected last year with her second term set to expire in 2022.

Richardson said he was looking to do what was right and in the best interest of the whole district in the wake of Heniford’s arrest. He noted that the district’s board governance allowed him to strip her of committee assignments and issue a public reprimand, but he didn’t want to do that before the case made its way through court.

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Investigative project reporter David Weissman joined The Sun News after three years working at The York Dispatch in Pennsylvania, where he earned awards for his investigative reports on topics including health, business, politics and education.