Nathan Griffith forgot to remove gas pump nozzle before driving off is why he was arrested

Nathan Griffith girlfriend Ashley interview

Jenelle Eason’s ex Nathan Griffith made headlines late last month after he was arrested yet again in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and charged with “striking fixtures on the side of the highway” and failing to report it. After remaining completely quiet about the incident for more than a week, Nathan recently did an interview in which he provided a full explanation of what happened.

Nathan’s interview was with Vince Russo, and Nathan was also joined by his girlfriend Ashley Lanhardt for a one-hour-plus discussion about everything ranging from Nathan’s obsession with bodybuilding to the power of editing on shows like Teen Mom 2. (Scroll to the bottom of the post for the full video interview.) Toward the end of the interview, Vince brings up Nathan’s recent arrest and Ashley is the first to reveal that it was all because Nathan drove off from a gas station with the gas pump nozzle still in the tank of his vehicle!

According to Nathan and Ashley’s accounts, he was out alone and was filling up his tank with gas when he went inside the convenience store to purchase an energy drink. Nathan says there was a man standing beside the counter near the register. “I don’t know if the guy was homeless or worked there or not,” Nathan recalls. “He looked like he was too clean to be homeless.”

As Nathan was ready to leave, he says this man “came out…he actually screwed on my cap and closed it and he waved me on and said ‘Don’t worry about it,’ so I left.”

The police arrived at Nathan’s house about an hour to an hour-and-a-half later. “I was being very cordial with them the entire time,” Nathan says, “until they started trying to incriminate me on other charges.” Given Nathan’s history with DUI arrests, I am assuming that the officers were asking Nathan if he had been drinking or using other substances prior to the incident.

“Finally, I de-escalated the situation,” Nathan says. He added that, at the time, “[the officers] weren’t going to arrest me,” and they left.

Later, Nathan was being questioned by an investigating officer and the situation escalated again after Nathan asked to record the conversation on video. It was after this request that Nathan was arrested.

“So there was never an accident?” Vince asks.

“My car is not even damaged or anything,” Nathan asserts.

Nathan Griffith Vince Russo interview

Nathan then recounts his plea to the officer:

Listen, I love you guys. I respect your line of work, but my brother — you have a brother of mine and me, we were both infantry in the military. I know you put your life on [the] line, but we did too, and we actually saw some action. I’m not being disrespectful, but we’re all on the same team. I don’t want any problems, so if the damage is $50, I’ll pay $1,000. If it’s $100, I’ll pay $2,000. Whatever I can do to make this situation happy. If we need to go through the insurance, we’ll go through the insurance. I just don’t want any problems.

Obviously, the plea didn’t work and Nathan was booked and charged with “striking fixtures upon or adjacent to highway” without reporting it. “Is leaving with a nozzle in your car ‘striking an object on the highway or adjacent to the highway?’ Nathan asks. “It might be pulling, but is it ‘striking an object?'”

I looked up the South Carolina statute described as “Duties of driver striking fixtures upon or adjacent to highway.” Here is what it states:

The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to fixtures legally upon or adjacent to a highway shall take reasonable steps to locate and notify the owner or person in charge of such property of such fact and of his name and address and of the registration number of the vehicle he is driving and shall upon request and if available exhibit his driver’s license and shall make report of such accident when and as required in Section 56-5-1270.

Clearly, Nathan was involved “in an accident resulting only in damage to fixtures legally upon or adjacent to a highway.” And he apparently did not “take reasonable steps to locate and notify the owner or person in charge of such property of such fact” — due mainly to the fact that Nathan was completely unaware that it had even happened. So, it seems the statute applies.

That being said, Nathan’s arrest does seem a bit extreme. I’m sure it is a relatively common occurrence that doesn’t usually lead to someone being booked and placed in jail. Even Vince laughingly admits he is also guilty of driving off with a gas pump nozzle still in his tank.

Nathan explains why he thinks he was treated differently. “This big circle with the bullseye on the back of me, it happened because I am portrayed in a certain light,” he says. “And it’s going to be that way for at least the next five years.”

Nathan insists that all of the substance abuse issues that led to his previous DUI arrests are behind him now. “Honestly, I haven’t been high [edit: highlighted] for the last year-and-a-half since I’ve been with [Ashley]. So when I actually did get arrested, I was very disappointed. I felt really sad. I felt really depressed. I told Ashley, ‘I just, I want to give up!’ It’s gets to that point because I do try to do the right things. I do try to have the ‘pay it forward’ attitude. It seems like I always find trouble or drama one way or another. I seriously try my hardest to stay away from it.”

UPDATE – Ashley reached out to us and pointed out that Nathan actually said “I haven’t been highlighted for the last year-and-a-half,” as in making the news or being in the spotlight for something like an arrest.

“Nathan does not do any form of drugs,” Ashley says, but that isn’t what Nathan says in the clip. We listened to the audio and there is a bit of a hiccup, but it is clear that he says “highlighted.”

Here is the video of Vince Russo’s and Noel Harlow LoGrasso’s full interview with Nathan and Ashley, including Nathan talking at length about Jenelle and the reality of being on reality TV. There are numerous references to recent interactions with producers, so I assume we will be seeing Nathan quite a bit on the next season of Teen Mom 2.

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