FLORENCE COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — An off-duty Tabor City police officer was arrested Saturday night at the Florence Motor Speedway after he allegedly harassed several people while they were entering the racetrack and later pulled down his pants and fought with people at a campsite outside the track, according to a police report obtained by News13.
Gary Lee Lewis was given tickets for disorderly conduct and trespassing and taken to the Florence County Detention Center. He was released Sunday afternoon on a personal recognizance bond, online jail records show.
Lewis has been placed on leave without pay, according to Tabor City Police Chief Donald Dowless, who apologized for Lewis’ actions and said they were uncalled for.
Further action is possible depending on the outcome of the investigation, Dowless said. Lewis has been with the department for about 10 years.
According to the report, Florence County sheriff’s deputies were working security at the track when they were called at about 6:30 p.m. to the track’s entrance area. A witness told deputies that a man was being “belligerent” as people were entering the track and showing a badge and saying he was a “lieutenant.”
Deputies later identified the man as Lewis, an officer with the Tabor City Police Department.
In the report, deputies also said they had to intervene after another man told him to “back away and leave people alone.” Deputies described the man as “heavily intoxicated.”
Deputies said Lewis was asked to leave but refused. A short time later, a family member arrived and they headed toward the exit, the report said.
However, at about 6:45 p.m., the report said authorities got reports that a man matching Lewis’ description was “acting violent and trying to assault people in the parking lot” where campers were parked.
According to the report, Timmonsville EMS workers saw Lewis rolling on the ground and approached him to see if he needed help, but he ran away. A short time later, deputies were able to detain him in the northwest parking lot.
He had a swollen eye and a bloody lip and continued struggling with deputies and “screaming profanity,” the report said. He also allegedly spat blood at the deputies.
During their investigation, the report said a man told deputies that Lewis had approached him and some friends at their campsite and pulled down his pants and “tried to squat down and use the bathroom in front of his camper.”
According to the report, the man told Lewis to leave, but Lewis then said he had a badge and threatened him before trying to punch him. The man told deputies he ducked and then hit Lewis with “a closed fist near his face.”
The man said another man then pushed Lewis and he hit his face on the end of the camper.