HomeTop StoriesVideo reveals new details of Bowen Turner's combative DUI arrest

Video reveals new details of Bowen Turner’s combative DUI arrest

When first responders arrived at the crash scene, they found a black pickup truck with beer cans and individual shots of Fireball, a cinnamon-flavored whiskey, strewn across the road, according to a South Carolina Highway Patrol incident report.

But the alleged driver, Bowen Turner, miraculously lived. Although evidence showed that Turner was not wearing a seat belt, he had managed to crawl out of the overturned vehicle virtually unscathed.

It wasn’t Turner’s first break: The 21-year-old Orangeburg resident has been the focus of critics who say well-connected defendants get favorable treatment in South Carolina courts. In 2022, Turner pleaded guilty to a single charge of assault and battery after being accused of rape by two teenage girls, one of whom later committed suicide. A judge initially sentenced Turner to probation as a juvenile offender, but he was sent to prison a month later after threatening a sheriff’s deputy during an underage drinking arrest.

He had been out of jail less than four months before the March 9 wreck in Florence County.

In dashcam footage from the crash scene obtained by The State Media Co., a first responder can be heard telling Highway Patrol Trooper Sierra Calomeris that alcohol was involved. “You could have lit a match over his mouth and started a fire,” the first responder said.

Video footage and reports of the crash obtained by the state provide new details about Turner’s combative arrest, during which he displayed erratic behavior and alternately begged and lashed out at police in an effort to stay out of jail.

When Calomeris arrived on the scene, the tire tracks told a story that was confirmed by a witness. Turner’s truck had crossed the center line on the wrong side of the road, narrowly avoiding another vehicle before overcorrecting, running off the right side of the road and rolling over several times. A four-wheeler he had towed in a trailer was ten meters from the truck.

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Incident reports from the South Carolina Highway Patrol claim Turner crossed into the wrong lane before overcorrecting and ending up in a ditch.

Incident reports from the South Carolina Highway Patrol claim Turner crossed into the wrong lane before overcorrecting and ending up in a ditch.

At McLeod Regional Medical Center on March 9, Turner initially denied to Calomeris that he had been in a wreck. He then said he didn’t know why he was lying, according to an incident report.

Turner appeared to be intoxicated, Calomeris wrote in her report. A strong odor of alcohol left his body, his speech was slow and slurred, and his mannerisms were repetitive. When she administered a seated sobriety test, Turner had difficulty following instructions and completing the tests.

When Calomeris began to arrest Turner, he ripped off his neck brace and “tried to get away screaming, using profane language.” At one point, he demanded privacy so he could use the bathroom and then tried to escape through a locked door, the report said. Along with a hospital security guard, Calomeris subdued and handcuffed Turner as he continued to resist.

Once he was in Calomeris’ car, his erratic and aggressive behavior continued. Footage from inside the vehicle showed Turner talking almost non-stop during the 23-minute drive as he tried to get a response from the stone-faced deputy.

He asks for a cigarette. He whines, whines, begs and demands that Calomeris let him out of his handcuffs. At one point he accuses her of having a “vendetta” against him.

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“You put me in handcuffs, how can I resist arrest?” Turner yells at the officer, who ignores his outburst and keeps her eyes on the road. “Don’t worry, don’t worry, god d–n d–e b—h,” he says in a homophobic slur. After a moment of silence he says “and my apologies, that was not my intention.”

“You said exactly what you feel,” Calomaris replies.

During the ride, Turner repeatedly asks if he can “be honest,” offering to share information about what is happening in Florence and asking to be taken to his grandmother, who he believes is sick.

Turner admits he has been to jail for “assault and battery” and insists he can’t go to jail because he is a “white boy” and should be in protective custody.

Sometimes his plea gave way to sudden fits of anger.

“Please release my handcuffs, ma’am. I can’t keep doing this, ma’am,” Turner pleads, squirming and pulling at his cuffs, “Ma’am, see, God d–n ma’am.”

“You’re tightening them because you…” Calomeris begins to answer.

“Because they’re tight as f— k!” Turner shouted in her face and interrupted her. Calomeris calmly calls ahead to the prison and asks if officers can meet her at the prison entrance.

“Man, you’re soft as f…k. Why are you lying like that? I know you want to think you’re tough because whatever, why are you lying like that? Because I am not combative.”

Bowen Turner was charged with resisting arrest after allegedly trying to prevent officers from handcuffing him.Bowen Turner was charged with resisting arrest after allegedly trying to prevent officers from handcuffing him.

Bowen Turner was charged with resisting arrest after allegedly trying to prevent officers from handcuffing him.

Once in prison, Turner’s outbursts continued. Calomeris wrote in her report that Turner began “sizing up” other officers, saying, “If he wasn’t in handcuffs, things would be different.”

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When asked to provide a sample for a breath test, Turner pretended to blow into the device, but not hard enough to register a result. As a result, officers indicated he refused a breathalyzer test.

Turner was ultimately charged with and found guilty of drink-driving, disorderly conduct in public, having an open container of beer or wine in a motor vehicle and not wearing a seat belt. He was also charged with resisting arrest, which is still pending.

Turner did not have an attorney listed for his most recent charges.

On March 28, Turner was returned to the custody of the state Department of Corrections. Under the circumstances of his juvenile sentence, he could serve up to four years in prison in non-consecutive blocks of time.

Turner is currently incarcerated at the Turbeville Correctional Institution.

Who is Bowen Turner?

Turner gained statewide attention after he was accused of sexually assaulting three teenage girls in and around Orangeburg in 2018 and 2019.

One of those victims, Dallas Stoller, died by suicide in November 2021, leading prosecutors to dismiss charges. The following April, Turner, whose father is a former investigator for the First Circuit Solicitor’s Office and whose family had hired state Senate Minority Leader Brad Hutto to represent him, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of assault and battery for one of the attacks.

Less than a month after being placed on probation under South Carolina’s Youthful Offender Act, Turner was sent to state prison after being charged with underage drinking and threatening the life of a law enforcement officer. Reports at the time indicated that after Turner was arrested while underage drinking at a bar, he threatened to bite off the finger of an Orangeburg County sheriff’s deputy who told him the jail’s COVID policy required Turner to wear a mask wear.

Turner pleaded guilty to these charges.

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