Durban adventurer and motivational speaker Sean Wisedale was arrested and charged with drunk driving on Sunday morning, moments after ramming his silver SUV into a neighbour’s gate.
Wisedale, 47, is expected to appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Monday, police spokesman Thulani Zwane said.
He has also been charged with malicious damage to property, but Wisedale told The Mercury that this depended on the owner of the gate he destroyed being reached.
The gate, which is on a communal road that runs alongside his and his neighbours’ homes, is owned by a resident who was not on the scene on Sunday and who has not been located by police.
A neighbour, who asked not to be named, recounted the morning’s events that took place in Haroldene Road, Glenwood.
Wisedale had started “screaming and shouting” at 6.20am, she said.
At 7.15am the neighbourhood went quiet for a few minutes “and then there was a loud bang”.
“I just pushed the panic button,” the neighbour said.
Blue Security was the first to arrive and blocked the road off.
When security officers approached Wisedale, he got out of his car and sat down on a patch of grass until police arrived.
“At first he was charming and even shook hands with some of the policemen, but then he bolted and started running down the road,” the neighbour said.
Police gave chase and Wisedale was apprehended a short while later, after he tripped and fell, injuring his face.
The article went on to call him a “monster”.
Wisedale’s neighbour said on Sunday that she feared for her safety.
“My youngest daughter was hysterical this morning,” she said.
Wisedale was released on bail late on Sunday afternoon.
He told The Mercury that, while he could not justify or vindicate anything he had done, he had been embroiled in a long-standing legal battle with his neighbours since 2007.
They had illegal tenants on their property, he said, and the high noise levels “infuriated” him.
He and his wife, Katherine Rowan, had been harassed and insulted on numerous occasions, he said.
The couple have a two-year-old daughter.
“It’s really been quite frustrating,” he said. “And then this morning I drove my car into the gate.”
A highly acclaimed film-maker, Wisedale has produced work for Carte Blanche and for the Discovery and National Geographic channels.
He was the first South African to climb Mount Vinson, the highest mountain in Antarctica, and to climb the Seven Summits, the highest mountains on each of the seven continents.
Wisedale specialises in leading climbing expeditions.
He has also delivered motivational talks, based on his climbs, to multinational organisations such as Unilever, Standard Bank, Goodyear and BMW and at some of the province’s top schools, including Durban High School.