Elizabeth Lauren Cutshaw’s night of birthday celebrations ended abruptly when she, in her own words, “messed up her whole life.”
Thinking her privilege and presence might remedy her lawlessness, after Cutshaw was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence, she begged South Carolina’s finest not to haul her down to the station. “I’m a pretty girl, please, don’t make me go,” she said — a plea Bluffton officers rejected.
Later, at the precinct, police officer Baker Odom wrote in his report, Cutshaw went further. She said she was also a “thoroughbred” and “white, clean girl,” Odom wrote. When he asked what that meant, Cutshaw replied, “You’re a cop, you should know what that means based on the people that come in this room,” according to the report.
The soon-to-be 33-year-old real estate agent was stopped Sunday about 1:45 a.m. after she ignored a stop sign and sped her white Ford Fusion through a four-way intersection, according to police paperwork obtained by The Washington Post. Little more than a block from the Bluffton Room, a local fine-dining spot where Cutshaw admitted to having two glasses of wine, the car was moving at more than double the 30-mile-per-hour limit.
As soon as Odom pulled Cutshaw over, he observed the hallmark signs of intoxication: bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, a strong odor of alcohol. A breath test calculated her blood alcohol level at 0.18 percent, higher than the state’s legal limit, according to Bluffton police. Officers also recovered marijuana and rolling papers from inside the Ford.
Cutshaw was handcuffed and placed in the rear of the police cruiser, where two police dash-cam videos picked up 20 minutes of inebriated imploration about why the officers should not arrest her. Between sobs and apologies, she explained: She had no criminal record, graduated with honors from an accredited university, and was a sorority sister, cheerleader and member of the National Honor Society.
“Making statements such as these as a means to justify not being arrested are unusual in my experience as a law enforcement officer and I believe further demonstrate the suspect’s level of intoxication,” Odom wrote in his report.
Based on the officer eyewitness accounts and her admissions, Cutshaw, who could not be reached for comment, was jailed; she faces charges including driving under the influence, speeding and possession of marijuana .
Located near Savannah, Ga., Bluffton’s 20,000-person population is 75 percent white, according to 2017 census data.