DUI Charged in I-20 Death

Drunk driving has claimed another life in South Carolina.

The driver of a car that killed a state Department of Transportation worker on I-20 in Lexington County has been charged with DUI and leaving the scene of an accident.

There were 357 motor vehicle fatalities in South Carolina linked to alcohol impairment in 2010, the most recent year for which statistics are available. More than 19,000 arrests for driving under the influence were made.

Following is from The State newspaper:
Thomas Lee Stafford, 39, is accused of driving drunk when his 2003 Nissan SUV fatally wounded Nicholas Johnson, who was walking along the road’s emergency lane near mile marker 62, according to Highway Patrol spokesman Brent Kelly.

Stafford continued to drive for another half-mile or so after hitting Johnson, Kelly said, before eventually pulling off the road. Stafford is charged with driving under the influence involving death, a felony, and leaving the scene of an accident.

Stafford’s vehicle swerved to the right and hit Johnson from behind, killing the man, but Highway Patrol investigators aren’t sure as to why.

The victim, who was only 21, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Victims and their families whose lives are disrupted by the recklessness of a drunk motorist may have a right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in South Carolina.

Sources:
* The State http://www.thestate.com/2012/12/03/2542921/worker-killed-in-i-20-collision.html
* Century Council http://www.centurycouncil.org/state-facts