Aynor mayor John Gardner, who recently filed for re-election, was pulled over by Horry County Police Aug. 25 around 8:30 p.m., but neither Horry County Police, nor Aynor Police have an official report about the incident.
On an Horry County Police dashcam video, Gardner, who is also the chief financial officer for Horry County Schools, is seen driving through the center of Aynor on his lawnmower, continuing on despite police flashing blue lights.
“He’s not stopping,” said a female officer from inside the police vehicle heard clearly in the video.
Upon stopping Gardner, the officers noted what they believed to be a beer can in the cup holder of the mower.
“You also have an open container,” the officer said.
“I know, I apologize for that,” Gardner said.
The video shows Gardner being asked by the officer to “pour that thing out”, and Gardner goes off screen. Gardner returns to the frame, and a few seconds later, he stumbles a bit as he walks toward the officers. The female officer is heard saying, “Whoa, are you all right?” His response is inaudible. The female officer is later heard on the video saying Gardner looked like he had almost fallen over.
Gardner maintains in the video that he was just going to get gas for his lawnmower, and that the whole thing is “just a misunderstanding.”
The Horry County officer in the video tells Gardner that they are going to “have Aynor handle it.”
Horry County police public information officer Krystal Dotson said because this was a traffic stop, Horry County police did not make a report. Dotson confirmed that Horry County police did not cite Gardner for anything. Teal Britton, spokesperson for Horry County Schools, said because there were no charges filed against Gardner, that no further action will be taken by the district.
Aynor Police Chief David Thompson declined to comment, because “the situation was neither initiated or investigated by the Aynor Police Department.” Aynor town manager Tony Godsey also declined to comment.
Gardner is officially in the running for re-election as mayor of Aynor, as filing opened this past week for those interested in running for the mayor’s seat, and for two open city council seats vacated by Cheryl Skipper-Collins and Tony Godsey Sr.
Mayor Gardner hopes that this video circulating on social media will not deter Aynorites from voting for him to continue as their mayor.
“We have an excellent council,” Gardner said. “We put fencing around the cemetery, we have made great improvements at the park, and we’re about to complete a stormwater drainage project…I hope people will see what we have done and gauge me on that.”