Lexington County Council member busted
Arrest is the second for Phil Yarborough since 2014
A Lexington County Council member is facing a criminal charge after his arrest Sunday by Lexington County Sheriff’s deputies for alleged malicious injury to property.
The arrest is the second for 35-year-old Phillip “Phil” Heyward Yarborough, Jr., since 2014, when Columbia Police arrested him in Five Points for public drunkenness and jaywalking.
On Sunday, according to Yarborough’s newlywed wife, her father, and at least two other witnesses, Yarborough allegedly bent the license plate on his father-in-law’s Chevy Tahoe SUV, and threw a rock at the vehicle causing an estimated $300 damage.
An incident report said the alleged incident originally resulted from a spat and altercation the day before after Yarborough’s wedding to Gretchen N. Pawlowski, 29, who resides with Yarborough at 188 Palm Point Dr., in the Columbia area of Lexington County.
Yarborough allegedly committed the damage after returning to his house on Sunday and was refused entrance by his wife.
In a statement to a deputy, Yarborough said he and his new wife had gotten into an argument Saturday night at a hotel after their wedding, and he also had gotten into a confrontation with his father-in-law, “which turned physical.”
Yarborough said he and and his wife “went their separate ways” after their wedding night fight, and he returned home Sunday to speak with her and found his in-laws were there, too. Yarborough’s wife told deputies the fight between them Saturday night occurred after Yarborough began “acting out.” Yarborough alleged his in-laws were the ones causing the problem between he and his wife, according to the incident report.
The arresting deputy said Yarborough denied knowledge of any damage to the truck. However, his wife, in-laws, and another female witness all corroborated that Yarborough had inflicted the damage to the vehicle, owned by Yarborough’s father-in-law Glen Pawloski, 59, of Marietta, Ohio.
In addition to the bent license plate, one witness saved the rock allegedly thrown by Yarborough, which his wife’s mother said she saw Yarborough throw at Pawloski’s vehicle. Deputies took the rock into custody as evidence, the report said.
Before deputies came on scene, Yarborough’s wife said he became belligerent and yelled obscenities at her parents. Deputies said Yarborough also yelled to one of the witnesses after they arrived, “this is (f’ed) up you know that,” and then “you don’t hit a councilman.”
After Pawloski said he intended to press charges, Yarborough was handcuffed and taken to the Lexington County Detention Center, where he was released Monday morning after posting a personal recognizance bond.
Yarborough’s wife alleged her husband has a drinking problem, and “is afraid of the way Phillip acts when he is drunk or angry,” the incident report stated.
Further, she alleged Yarborough frequently speaks to her in an insulting way and tells her she is “insignificant.” She also alleged that he has been physically abusive to her in the past.
Yarborough was elected to Council in 2014 in an uncontested race for the vacated District 7 seat formerly held by Brad Matthews. His district encompasses the Irmo-St. Andrews area of Lexington County. He is up for re-election in 2018.
Yarborough was arrested in October 2014 just weeks before his election. In addition to being observed by police as being “grossly intoxicated” and almost being hit by a vehicle while illegally crossing a street, authorities also stated Yarborough became agitated and physically “hostile” when authorities tried to place him in a cell at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.
The public drunkenness charges against Yarborough in that incident were later dropped, for lack of a blood-alcohol test, though he did pay a fine for jaywalking.
In an interview after his release, Yarborough stated: “No entity or person is perfect. Nobody wants to go through stuff like that…. I live in a glass house.”
County Council chairman Todd Cullum on Monday night said, “At this time I’m not prepared to make a statement about Phil’s situation. We are still trying to understand the full breadth of this matter.”
Council member Johnny Jeffcoat, who previously served as chairman, also declined comment.
When asked what, if any, repercussions Yarborough might face from Council, Jeffcoat said: “Council doesn’t have any formal means of reprimand.”