A woman is in custody in Columbia, South Carolina (SC), for causing a hit-and-run collision while driving under the influence of alcohol in the early morning hours of August 11, 2017. The crash, which left two innocent people badly injured, happened at the intersection of Huger Street and Hampton Street at about 2:30 am. Law enforcement officials captured the fleeing driver after she struck a pole on Meeting Street, west of the river.
Emergency responders found the injured victims in a car that had burst into flames. Both people were freed before suffering burns, but they went to hospitals with broken bones and internal injuries. Preliminary charges for DUI, driving with a suspended license, leaving the scene of an accident, fleeing police cruisers with blue lights activated and failing to render aid following a crash have been filed against the at-fault driver.
Section 56-5-2930(A) of the South Carolina Code makes it “unlawful for a person to drive a motor vehicle within this State while under the influence of alcohol to the extent that the person's faculties to drive a motor vehicle are materially and appreciably impaired.” Issuing the DUI charge indicates that police discovered the hit-and-run driver noticeably intoxicated, perhaps slurring her words and stumbling once out of her vehicle. Laboratory tests may assign a blood alcohol concentration, but securing a conviction will not depend on that number.
Regarding the hit and run and failure to render aid charges, the relevant sections of chapter 56-5-1210 of the state code place duties on drivers involved in wrecks that result in injuries to do all of the following:
- Stop immediately,
- Report the accident,
- Remain at the scene to speak with investigators and share insurance information, and
- To the degree possible, offer first aid to anyone who has suffered great bodily injury, which is defined as an injury “which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ.”
A driver who takes the wheel while drunk and then leaves the scene of a crash after inflicting injuries must be held fully accountable under the law. The person must also be held responsible for paying compensation to the victims through insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits. Whatever happens in criminal court, a dedicated Carolina personal injury lawyer can help the people hurt in this Columbia, SC, DUI-related hit and run receive the medical payments and other financial awards they deserve.