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Woman faces felony drunken-driving charge after fatal accident

A fatal car crash near Columbia, South Carolina, prompted South Carolina Highway Patrol officers to arrest and charge a 29-year-old woman for driving while intoxicated. The early morning accident, which involved three westbound vehicles, occurred in Dorchester County.

According to SCHP officers, a dump truck loaded with asphalt had stopped in the road for a construction flagger around 3 a.m. on Highway 78 at Orangeburg Road. A car driven by the 56-year-old female victim was stopped behind the truck. According to witnesses, the third vehicle, which was driven by the alleged drunken driver, did not slow down as it approached the construction zone and hit the back of the second vehicle, pushing it into the rear of the dump truck.

The driver of the second vehicle died at the scene. The 45-year-old male dump truck driver was not injured. All drivers were apparently wearing seat belts.

Unlike the victim in the second vehicle, the driver of the third vehicle sustained only minor injuries. She was sent to Trident Medical Center and then booked into the Dorchester County Detention Center on a felony DWI charge.

In South Carolina, as it is in other states, drunken driving is a serious violation. Lighter offenses that have minimal property damage and no injuries to people can lead to license suspension and revocation. If the charges escalate, the accused person is more likely to be imprisoned, undergo rehabilitation and pay steep fines.

In this case, because a fatality is involved and the extent of damages is substantial, the accused will face the toughest charges. Challenging a DUI charge can be a formidable task. A DUI defendant should consult a legal professional immediately to design a robust defense. It is wise to get the best possible legal advice in cases like this to protect the defendant's rights and ensure a fair trial.

Source: The Summerville Journal Scene, "DUI charged in fatal crash," A.M. Sheehan, Oct. 8, 2013

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