A South Carolina man recently pleaded guilty to his role in a fatal car accident that occurred on Jan. 23, 2011. In that accident, the driver ran an SUV off the road and down a steep embankment. The vehicle hit several trees on the way down, and the passenger in the car was severely injured.
The intoxicated driver then fled the scene on foot, leaving his injured passenger behind to die. A passing motorist saw the crashed vehicle and dialed 911. Unfortunately, the passenger had already passed away before emergency responders arrived on the scene.
It is reported that emergency workers feared that the driver had been ejected from the SUV in the car accident. Further investigation however revealed an open container of alcohol in the vehicle along with a milk jug that police say smelled of alcohol. Another man came to the scene of the accident and informed authorities that the driver had appeared at his home asking for a ride back to his own residence. Shortly thereafter the driver's wife drove him back to the scene of the car accident where he told authorities that he had been driving the SUV.
South Carolina authorities tested the man's blood alcohol content, and discovered it to be 0.111. His blood also contained traces of marijuana. While he will now have to serve at least 12 years in prison for the death of his passenger, that man's family may well find that to be hollow comfort. The family of the man killed could decide to file a civil action such as a wrongful death claim against the driver. Such action may be especially beneficial if he left behind any children or relatives dependent upon him financially.
Source: The Travelers Rest Tribune, "Greenville man sentenced for fatal Cleveland accident," James Richardson, June 27, 2012