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Columbia Personal Injury Lawyer > Blog > Car Accident > Driver Faces Felony DUI Charges After Accident That Killed Grandmother And First Grader

Driver Faces Felony DUI Charges After Accident That Killed Grandmother And First Grader


Emma’s Law requires most South Carolina drivers who are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) to install ignition interlock devices on their cars, so that the car will not operate until its sensors are sure that the driver is sober.  The law has been in effect since 2014, and it was named after Emma Longstreet, who died at age six when a drunk driver collided with her family’s car in 2012.  While Emma’s Law has certainly prevented many DUI accidents and fatalities, making South Carolina’s roads safer, alcohol continues to contribute to a disproportionate number of traffic fatalities.  Last November, a child the same age as Emma Longstreet died in Pickens County when a drunk driver crashed into the car where he was riding with his great-grandmother.  If you have been injured in an accident involving drunk driving, contact a Columbia car accident lawyer.

DUI Crash Results in Fatalities and Injuries

On November 4, 2021, Gladys Holbrooks of Pickens was driving her Ford Fiesta on Calhoun Memorial Highway. Four other members of her family were also in the car with her.  Jose Martin Guzman-Pliego approached in his Dodge Ram pickup truck and rear-ended the Ford at high speed, causing the Ford to veer off the road and overturn several times.  Holbrooks was ejected from the vehicle, as was her great-grandson Cameron Durham, who was a first grader at Pickens Elementary School.  Holbrooks, 70, and Durham, 6, both died of injuries they sustained in the accident.  The three other occupants of the Ford were treated for injuries at the hospital, as was Guzman-Pliego.

Guzman-Pliego was arrested and, as of November 7, was being held without bond in the Pickens County Jail.  He is being charged with two counts of felony DUI resulting in death and four counts of DUI resulting in great bodily injury.  The State website did not specify his blood alcohol content at the time of the accident, but anything above 0.08 percent is considered DUI. No additional news reports have been published about the criminal case against him, but he could face a prison sentence of many years if convicted of all the charges.

The standard of evidence for convicting defendants in criminal court of crimes involving death are very high, but the civil and criminal courts operate independently of each other.  This means that, even if Guzman-Pliego is not convicted of any crimes related to the deaths of Holbrooks and Durham, their family still has the right to seek damages in civil court in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Let Us Help You Today

Drunk drivers are a danger to the drivers and passengers of all the vehicles on the road.  The car accident lawyers at the Stanley Law Group can help you if you were injured in a car accident where the at fault driver was driving under the influence of alcohol.  Contact The Stanley Law Group in Columbia, South Carolina or call (803)799-4700 for a free initial consultation.



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