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Man confesses to fatal DUI in YouTube video gone viral

South Carolina drivers may want to take note of an Ohio man who admitted to driving drunk and killing a man in a YouTube video that went viral. The man posted the video a few months after the accident occurred and then turned himself into police for his involvement in the accident, eventually pleading guilty.

The 22-year-old man posted the video where he said he killed a 61-year-old man while driving drunk. After turning himself in to face drunk driving charges, the man told a judge that he had blacked out the night of the accident and did not remember the wrong-way crash. He also said he had not drank any alcohol since the accident and had checked into a two-week alcohol rehabilitation program.

The man, who admitted to struggling with alcohol abuse, expressed remorse for his part in the accident. He was sentenced to 6 ½ years in prison and a lifetime revocation of his driver's license, which was not the maximum penalty for the charges he faced. His video confession was played in court during sentencing because the judge felt that it was not only about the man but about society and the alcohol abuse epidemic.

The young man received support for taking responsibilities for his actions, including a letter from the ex-wife of the victim. However, contacting a lawyer to explore his options before releasing the video even if he was ready to confess to his part in the accident may have been a good first step for the man. A lawyer might recommend not posting a video confession and instead dealing directly with authorities in a private manner, particularly since the man did not remember the accident, in the event the case went to trial.

Source: CNN, "Man who confessed to drunken driving in viral video gets 6½ years", Kisa Mlela Santiago, October 24, 2013

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