SALUDA COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - Georgia Southern University starting quarterback Shai Werts was arrested July 31 in Saluda County, S.C.. He was charged with speeding and misdemeanor cocaine possession.
He bonded out on Aug. 1. On Aug. 2, the Eagles returned to the practice field without Werts, but he returned to Statesboro over the weekend, and was back at practice on Monday.
The drive through Saluda is one Werts told officers he makes heading back to campus from his hometown of Clinton, S.C. Wednesday, WTOC made the drive to learn more about the circumstances surrounding the arrest. We were the only TV station to do so.
WTOC hasn’t been given a copy of body cam or dash cam footage from the night of Werts’ arrest, but the Saluda County Sheriff’s Office allowed us to watch the video and take notes.
The arrest report obtained by WTOC makes note of a “white powder substance” on the hood of Werts’ 2016 Dodge Charger. In the video WTOC viewed, the white substance lined the area of the hood below the wiper blades, then appeared to drip down like paint on the driver’s side towards the front of the car - taking up about a third of the hood.
Werts claimed the substance was bird poop.
At one point during the more than half-an-hour video from the stop, the officer questions Werts about the white substance.
The exchange went as follows:
Officer: “What’s that white stuff on your hood, man?”
Werts: “Bird s**t
Officer: “That ain’t bird s**t.”
Werts: “I promise you, that’s bird doo doo.”
Officer: “I promise you, it’s not though.”
Werts: “I swear to God, that’s bird doo doo.”
Officer: “I swear to God, it’s not. I just tested it and it turned pink.”
A pink color indicates it tested positive for cocaine, according to the sheriff’s office.
Werts told the officer he tried to clean it the night before at a gas station. The officer walked away and says to himself, “This is crazy.”
Throughout the video, it was clear that the officer couldn’t believe what he saw, and Werts maintained it was bird poop the entire time.
Deputy Horne wouldn’t go into specifics of the case since it is ongoing, but he says in his 21 years of law enforcement, he has not seen an incident like this one.
“For it being all over the hood? Uh...not in my career have I seen something - a case this unique," he said. "Don’t rush to judgement on this case, I mean, it is what it is and in time, it will tell. We’d love to be able to give the footage quicker, but based on it being a prosecutors case, we have to wait until they’ve made their decision.”
The Georgia Southern Athletics Department tells WTOC Werts was given a drug test from a third party, and passed it. He has requested a jury trial and hired an attorney. WTOC reached out for a statement, but has not received one at this time.