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Driver arrested for DUI after causing bicycle accident

Pedestrians, including bicyclists, are virtually unprotected by road hazards. A drunk driver compounds these perils. In fact, 47 percent of all fatal pedestrian accidents in 2010 involved an alcohol-impaired driver or pedestrian, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. A chilling bicycle accident in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina involving an allegedly impaired driver vividly illustrates these dangers.

A 75-year-old driver from Bristol, Virginia struck the bicyclist with his Jeep while driving out of a convenience store parking lot on Kings Highway at 4:35 p.m. on a recent Saturday. She was dragged under the vehicle for 67 feet before the driver stopped, according to the Myrtle Beach Police Department. Police arrived at the accident after the driver parked his car in the northbound lane on Kings Highway/U.S. 17 and Mr. Joe White Avenue. The 21-year-old victim and her bicycle were underneath the vehicle and a crowd surrounded the car.

The bicyclist suffered two broken bones in her shoulder area and road rash from the accident. She received treatment at a Myrtle Beach hospital.

The driver admitted that he hit the bicycle but did not stop his car because he did not realize what happened. The police officer smelled alcohol on the driver's breath and he acknowledged that he drank three beers before the accident. He refused to take a breathalyzer test when he was booked at the jail.

Police charged the driver with one count of driving under the influence and failure to yield the right-of-way to an oncoming vehicle. After posting a $1,155 bond, he was released. Police are still investigating the accident.

Pedestrians that are hit by a car or injured by a negligent or impaired driver may be entitled to compensation for medical treatment, lost wages and other losses caused by the accident. An establishment that served alcohol to an impaired driver may also have liability to victims and their families. Crash victims and their families should promptly seek advice to assure that their rights are protected, evidence is obtained and time periods for filing legal actions are met.

Source: Bristol Herald Courier, "Bristol, Va. Man arrested for DUI after Myrtle Beach, S.C., accident," Kevin Castle, July 7, 2013

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