A 25-year-old South Carolina man was sentenced to two decades behind bars earlier this month for a fatal drunk driving crash that killed a Maryland college student a year ago. It’s one of the harshest sentences handed down for a fatal DUI in that state in recent years.
The victim, who was a senior at the University of South Carolina (USC), was riding a moped last November when another young man struck him with his pickup truck. He was reportedly driving at more than 75 mph — over twice the posted speed limit. His blood alcohol content (BAC) was also almost twice the legal limit. Additionally, toxicology reports were positive for marijuana and Xanax. He pleaded guilty to the fatal DUI.
The judge sentenced the driver to the maximum 25 years in prison. However, he suspended five of those years. The typical sentence for those convicted of fatal DUIs in that state is closer to seven years. However, the combination of drugs, alcohol and speeding contributed to the length of his sentence. One victims advocate said, “A sentence like this sends a message to the community that this is not going to be tolerated.”
The victims’ family and some 40 fraternity brothers were in the courtroom at the sentencing to testify about what the young man meant to them. His mother talked about a composition her son wrote in first grade in which he promised not to drink and drive when he got older. She said, “All three of my kids came from Maryland to go to the University of South Carolina….But only two came back.”
In addition to the carnage that drunk driving can cause to a victim’s family, it can ruin the life of the person who was behind the wheel. If you’ve been charged in a DUI incident in which no one was seriously harmed, you should consider yourself fortunate — even though you likely don’t feel that way. The best thing a person can do is learn from their mistakes and never repeat them. It’s important, however, not to go through the justice system alone. You should have an experienced Maryland DUI attorney to present your case and protect your rights.