Motorcyclist Dies And Driver Faces Felony Charges After Laurens County Crash
Advocates for vehicle safety often say that South Carolina’s laws do not do enough to deter drunk driving. The South Carolina legislature is currently considering Senate Bill 28, which would expand the use of ignition interlock devices as a penalty for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). The current law, named Emma’s law after a child killed by a drunk driver in 2012, provides for some instances where judges can order the use of ignition interlock devices, which require the driver to pass a breath test before the engine will start. Meanwhile, South Carolina ranks in the top ten for DUI fatalities, ranking above many states with much bigger populations, and so far, 2021 seems to be continuing that trend. Last month, a DUI crash tragically cut short the life of a young Laurens County firefighter. If you have been injured in an alcohol-related traffic accident, contact a South Carolina car accident lawyer.
Firefighter Dies After Colliding With Drunk Driver’s Car on US Highway 76
The accident happened shortly after 2:00 p.m. on June 25. Nathaniel Hunter Sipes, a part-time firefighter with the Clinton Fire Department, was riding his 2004 Harley Davidson motorcycle west on US Highway 76. As Sipes approached Randall Road, a 2014 Kia Sedan entered US Highway 76 from a private drive, failing to yield the right of way to Sipes, who could not avoid colliding with the car. The driver of the Kia left the scene of the accident. Sipes died of his injuries after arriving at the hospital. He was 20 years old.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol later caught up with the driver of the Kia, whom they identified as Robert Curry Richardson of Laurens. Richardson, 56, is facing felony charges for DUI resulting in death and for leaving the scene of a fatality accident.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits Related to Drunk Driving
The defendant accused of causing the accident that killed Nathaniel Sipes, like all defendants in criminal cases, is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The evidence required to convict someone in criminal court is much greater than the evidence required to win a civil lawsuit. Even if Richardson is not convicted of DUI manslaughter, Sipes’ family has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court and to collect economic damages for funeral expenses and noneconomic damages for the untimely death of a family member. Filing wrongful death lawsuits in relation to DUI accidents can be especially complicated, because people convicted of DUI vehicular homicide often face long prison sentences and have little ability to pay damages.
Contact Us Today for Help
Contacting a Columbia car accident lawyer is the first step to getting justice for victims of alcohol-related hit and run crashes. Your lawyer can outline your legal options, whether or not the driver who caused the accident faced criminal charges. Contact The Stanley Law Group for help with your case.