Crash report: Officer drank, fell asleep
The Post and Courier
A North Charleston police officer was sleep-deprived, taking antidepressants and on her third drink as she made an alcohol run to a store last month, according to an incident report.
But Christina Mask was a half-mile from her home when she fell asleep at the wheel of her marked cruiser and crashed into a ditch in the Jedburg area, the report stated.
Obtained Monday after The Post and Courier filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the S.C. Department of Public Safety, the document revealed new details about the 29-year-old’s arrest April 22. A North Charleston Police Department officer since 2009, Mask was jailed and placed on unpaid leave.
She was off duty when her cruiser drifted off McMakin Street near Perry Drive and struck a culvert about 1:05 a.m.
A S.C. Highway Patrol trooper arrived about 1:30 a.m. and later noted in her report that Mask smelled of alcohol. A pint-size can of Smirnoff Ice Black rested near the disabled car. Some of its contents had splashed in the front and back seats.
The can was Mask’s, she told the trooper. Two empty cans inside the car also were hers, she said, according to the report.
She said she had downed two of the 16-ounce beverages and was working on the third when she wrecked, the report stated.
Mask added that she had been taking antidepressant medications, had been having a hard time sleeping and had been awake since 5:30 a.m. the previous day.
She started drinking before midnight, but later got in her cruiser and left her Lake Drive home to buy the alcohol at a gas station. On her way back, she told the trooper, she nodded off and crashed. Her story was consistent with the trooper’s findings.
Mask walked home to get her cellphone and was returning to the crash site when Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office deputies found her, the report stated.
During a field-sobriety test, Mask performed well on some tasks, but her eyes didn’t smoothly follow the trooper’s moving pen, and she lost count while standing on one leg, according to the report.
A video from the trooper’s cruiser, which was released last week under the FOIA, showed Mask cry as the trooper handcuffed her.
Mask’s blood-alcohol level was later tested to be 0.17 percent, more than twice the legal limit, the report stated. She faces charges of driving under the influence and having an open container of alcohol in her car.