Ex-Atascadero mayoral candidate arrested on DUI, hit-and-run charges

Charles Scovell
Charles Scovell

A former Atascadero candidate for mayor was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of felony driving under the influence resulting in injury and felony hit-and-run after a late night single-vehicle crash.

Charles John Scovell II, 36, was arrested shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday after he allegedly crashed his vehicle into a tree and a fence on the 10000 block of Atascadero Avenue, according to Atascadero Police Sgt. Caleb Davis.

Scovell allegedly attempted to leave the scene but was arrested by officers responding to a report of a crash, Davis said.

Scovell's sole passenger was treated at a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. No pedestrians were involved in the crash, Davis said.

Scovell was booked into San Luis Obispo County Jail on suspicion of driving under the influence resulting in injury as well as hit-and-run, according to jail booking logs.

He was no longer listed in custody at 11 a.m. Wednesday, according to logs.

Scovell declined comment when reached by phone Wednesday.

Scovell, an arborist and Atascadero resident, unsuccessfully ran for mayor against incumbent Tom O’Malley in the November 2014 general election, securing 40 percent of the vote to O’Malley’s nearly 59 percent.

At the time, his history of run-ins with the law became a campaign issue when he tried to address them at a campaign forum. His criminal record at San Luis Obispo Superior Court includes a series of minor offenses in his late teens and early 20s, ranging from possessing alcohol as a minor in 1998 to reckless driving in 2000. Some of the offenses were dismissed or have since been expunged from his record.

“I dropped out of school and got involved in drugs. My life spiraled out of control,” he said last fall of that time and noted that one reason he was running for mayor was to increase positive activities available to kids in town.

Davis said an investigation into the crash remained ongoing Wednesday afternoon.