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Repeat DUI offender sentenced in fatal South Carolina accident

A 36-year-old man from Lexington County, South Carolina, was sentenced to 17 years in prison for the death of a 21-year-old man he hit while he was alleged driving under the influence. The 21-year-old was going to turn 22 in just two days, and he was a worker for the United States Department of Transportation. The accident occurred in December on Interstate 20.

According to DOT workers, they had put up visible signs to warn approaching drivers that they were conducting road work. Additionally, they were wearing bright orange vests to ensure they were clearly visible. Since the man had been found to be under the influence of drugs at the time of the accident, it made offering a DUI defense more difficult. The man had reportedly been under the influence of Xanax and methodone when the accident occurred. He had been taking a pain medication because of an injury he suffered in 2011 and had become addicted to it. To wean himself off the medication, he entered a methodone program, but to ease his pain, he had gotten Xanax. The two drugs are never supposed to be mixed and especially by a driver, the prosecutor stated.

After the accident occurred, the man tried to flee the scene. However, two witnesses chased after him and stopped him, taking his keys. The state circuit judge stated that the man had already been convicted of a DUI in 2010 and was charged with another just weeks before the fatal DUI.

DUI attorneys might be able to help people charged with felony DUIs negotiate more lenient prison sentences with prosecutors. For instance, prosecutors sometimes agree to offer defendants a short imprisonment term in exchange for them enrolling in substance abuse treatment programs.

Source: The State, "Repeat DUI offender gets 17 years in SCDOT roadside death ", John Monk, October 03, 2013

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