A three-vehicle crash in Lexington County, South Carolina (SC), on Easter Sunday left a motorcycle rider dead, an SUV driver hospitalized with injuries and the at-fault driver facing felony charges for driving under the influence. The fatal wreck happened at 11:50 am on April 16, 2017.
According to Highway Patrol investigators, a woman in a small SUV crossed the center line of Old Barnwell Road near the turnoff to Collumwood Circle. She then sideswiped a larger SUV and collided with a motorcycle head on. The driver of the larger vehicle was hospitalized with injuries, and the motorcyclist died at the scene.
Multiple news outlets identified the deceased motorcycle rider as 65-year-old West Columbia resident Larry Edgar Williams. The reports also noted that he was not wearing a helmet when he was struck and ejected from his bike. South Carolina laws do not require adults older than 18 to use head protection while riding a motorcycle. As a consequence, a wrongful death claim arising from this wreck cannot be dismissed immediately on the grounds that the victim was not wearing a motorcycle helmet.
Much more relevant for both the injured SUV driver and the family of the motorcyclist who lost his life is that the woman charged with causing the crash has been charged with DUI. According to the South Carolina Code of Laws,
A person who, while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or the combination of alcohol and drugs, drives a motor vehicle and when driving a motor vehicle does any act forbidden by law or neglects any duty imposed by law in the driving of the motor vehicle, which act or neglect proximately causes great bodily injury or death to a person other than himself, is guilty of the offense of felony driving under the influence.
In addition to allegedly taking the wheel while she was drunk or stoned, the “act forbidden by law” and the “neglect [of] any duty imposed by law” the at-fault driver committed was driving left of center. The stretch of Old Barnwell Road where this fatal head-on collision occurred is a two-lane road divided by double yellow lines. Crossing double yellow lines is illegal except in very limited circumstances, none of which applied at the time of the combined sideswipe and head-on collision.
Hiring a dedicated and empathetic Carolina personal injury and wrongful death attorney will help the people harmed by the woman’s negligent and impaired driving accountable.