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DUI suspect in South Carolina fatality has prior record

An alleged drunk driving accident on Feb. 10 resulted in the death of a 22-year-old woman from South Carolina. The suspect in the accident is no stranger to the legal system: back in 2008 she was charged with impaired driving.

According to a spokesman from the South Carolina Highway Patrol, a 36-year-old woman crashed her GMC Yukon into the victim's Kia Rio as it was stopped at a stoplight around rush hour. The crash impact propelled the Kia into the path of a Toyota Camry.

The victim was transported to the hospital and was pronounced dead in the emergency room. The suspect and the Camry driver were not injured.

According to the highway patrol, the suspect failed a field sobriety test and registered a 0.20 percent blood alcohol content. This is over twice South Carolina's 0.08 percent legal driving limit. Authorities charged her with felony driving under the influence in which death results. She faces a maximum 25-year prison sentence and $25,000 fine and was held without bond in the county jail.

In 2008, the suspect's license was suspended for several months, then was reinstated after she enrolled in an alcohol and drug safety program and paid $100. These measures were imposed after she was charged with driving under the influence. At the time, authorities claimed that she swerved across lanes in her vehicle. They also claimed that she had a 0.11 percent BAC after she was pulled over.

Impaired driving is a continuing threat to South Carolina motorists and pedestrians. It often involves repeat offenders, as this crash may illustrate. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reported that South Carolina had 358 drunk driving crash deaths in 2012, constituting 41 percent of all traffic deaths in the state that year. This was an increase from the 309 fatalities in South Carolina in 2011.

Victims injured by a drunk driver may be entitled to compensation for injuries and losses suffered in these accidents. A dram shop liability action may be filed against the establishment that served an impaired driver, and a wrongful death lawsuit may be initiated by relatives of a family member killed by a drunk driver. Prompt advice should be sought to assure that victims do not forfeit their rights.

Source: The State, "Rock Hill woman charged in traffic death has previous DUI," Jonathan McFadden, Feb. 11, 2014

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