A woman from North Carolina pleaded guilty to DUI this week for a crash that killed a man in July 2014 and left a Dillon County, South Carolina police officer with brain damage.
The woman pleaded guilty on April 8 and was sentenced to 15 years in South Carolina state prison.
On July 6, 2014, the woman reportedly hit a police car when she was driving home after a night of drinking at bars. The passenger in the vehicle died in the crash. The police officer suffered permanent brain damage in the accident.
In the years since the DUI crash, the deceased’s father has worked with several state legislators to pass the Dram Shop Bill in South Carolina. The new law holds bar and restaurant owners accountable for over serving customers who then get into DUI accidents.
The law was not in effect when the crash happened, but the dead man’s father said the law does good today.
While there are fewer people being killed in DUI crashes today than decades ago, there are still far too many people being injured and killed in preventable crashes. As of 2014, 9967 people died in drunk driving accidents, according to the NHTSA. That is one every 50 minutes or so.
Our North Carolina DUI accident attorneys hope this woman’s 15 year sentence is a reminder that drinking and driving can lead to devastating consequences. Not only do people get seriously hurt and killed. The convicted can spend many years behind bars.
Plus, the injured and grieving families have the option of filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit in civil court. Seriously injured people, such as the police officer injured in this accident, often have a mountain of medical bills and ongoing healthcare costs that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. If a person is killed by a drunk driver, the devastated family may feel some sense of closure by filing a wrongful death lawsuit and receiving compensation for their pain and suffering and funeral costs.
Our Virginia and North Carolina personal injury attorneys once represented the victims of a drunk driver in Virginia, and that case settled for $112,000. If the judgement against the driver is more than insurance coverage limits, the defendant normally is personally liable for the difference. We hope that when faced with both criminal and civil consequences for drunk driving, more people will learn that it is never worth it to get behind the wheel after a night of drinking.