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Accident kills 1, injures 1, possibly caused by drunk driving

The South Carolina Highway Patrol charged a woman with two counts of felony DUI after a crash in Clarendon County on Aug. 30. The accident on SC 261 killed a 34-year-old man from Manning who suffered chest and neck injuries due to the wreck.

A 45-year-old woman, also from Manning, traveled east on the highway when her vehicle hit the rear of a vehicle headed the same direction, and the other vehicle hit a tree after going off the road. The driver of the other vehicle died, and his passenger went to a hospital after suffering serious injuries.

The Manning woman also went to a hospital before being transported to the Clarendon County Detention Center. In addition to the felony counts, she was also charged with transporting an alcohol container with the seal broken. Her bond is set at $60,000.

The potential consequences associated with drunk driving charges will likely depend on the circumstances involved in a case. A felony DUI carries more serious penalties than a misdemeanor DUI, and one could face felony charges when an accident allegedly involving drunk driving injured or killed someone. In South Carolina, one could face conviction for driving under the influence or driving with unlawful concentration of alcohol, and a conviction for these offenses might include a license suspension, jail time or fines.

While it is not clear why the woman in this case was under suspicion for driving drunk, an officer must have probable cause when pulling someone over or charging someone. To establish probable cause and collect evidence, an officer might ask a driver to perform field sobriety tests or consent to breath or blood testing. An attorney may be able to argue the validity of testing methods or how the tests were administered.

Source: WISTV, "Bond set for woman involved in fatal DUI crash", August 31, 2014

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