Driver who almost drove off Ravenel Bridge charged with DUI

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A railing appeared to be the only thing that kept a car from flying off the Ravenel Bridge early Wednesday morning. Now police have charged the driver with DUI.

The back two tires of a four-door sedan could be seen hanging off the side of southbound lanes of the bridge. The car was wedged on top of the railing right at the start of Septima Clark Expressway.{}

According to the police report, a witness told officers that the woman sped past him and crashed moments later. When he tried to help her, the report states, the woman asked the witness to help her get the car off the retaining wall. The man told her that wasn't possible and instead helped her out of the car, the report states.

When officers approached the woman, identified as 41-year-old Julia Johnson, they noted she had bloodshot, glazed eyes and smelled of alcohol, police said.

She said repeatedly, according to the report, that she had been driving too fast to correct her course and avoid the collision. She told officers she had four cocktails at dinner several hours earlier, adding that she was also on blood pressure medication.

After Johnson's car hit the retaining wall, it also took out two light poles on the bridge, sending them to the ground below.

According to the report, Johnson was unable to keep her balance during a field sobriety test. She was then arrested and charged with driving under the influence and her car was towed from the bridge. She was also charged with driving too fast for conditions.

A Breathalyzer test showed her blood alcohol content to be 0.19 percent, the report states.

Charleston Police officials say it was a single car accident that happened around midnight and the driver was not injured. They said the woman was coming from Mt. Pleasant when she hit the retaining wall of the off ramp that leads to the Crosstown.

Several police and fire units responded to the scene.

Her bond was set at $2,452.