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DUI charges dropped after tests show that driver was ill

Drivers who may have been falsely charged with driving under the influence on South Carolina roadways may be interested in learning about a DUI case in Anderson County that has now been dismissed. On Dec. 4, news sources reported that felony drunk driving charges against a man who suffers from a rare health disorder were dropped because criminal prosecution of the charged driver based on the evidence in the case is not supported by law.

Prior to the release of toxicology reports, the charged driver was facing two counts of felony DUI resulting in death. During the investigation following the high-speed crash that claimed the lives of two people, authorities found empty beer cans as well as spilled beer in the alleged at-fault driver's vehicle. Troopers indicated that the 52-year-old man appeared confused and disoriented at the scene, and investigators said that he had no memory of the fatal event later that same evening.

The driver was subsequently taken to Greenville Memorial Hospital for blood tests. However, results released on Nov. 7 showing a blood alcohol content level of .0 percent on two separate samples concluded that the man was not intoxicated at the time of the deadly incident.

According to hospital records, the driver in this case has a medical condition known as lactic acidosis. The high levels of lactic acid in the blood stream that are indicative of this condition can cause confusion, disorientation, seizures and loss of consciousness.

South Carolina drivers who suffer from similar medical conditions may want to be aware that their symptoms could also be interpreted incorrectly by law enforcement officials at the scene of a serious accident or during a routine traffic stop. If faced with false accusations of intoxication, legal counsel may be able to assist.

Source: FOX 8, "Man accused of deadly DUI actually had rare health condition", Paul Choate, December 04, 2014

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