A West Ashley man who is facing criminal charges for causing a fatal drunk driving accident in August was found to have a blood alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit, according to the final police report. The report stated that the 20-year-old man was traveling approximately 94 mph in a 45 mph zone and had a BAC level of .217 at the time of the crash. The legal BAC limit in South Carolina is .08.
According to reports, the driver had been attending a wake for his best friend on the night of Friday, August 15. Witnesses stated that they never saw him consume alcohol that night, nor the next morning when he woke up shortly before noon. After leaving the house, he crashed head-on into a vehicle driven by Kylie Gillette, a 17-year-old honor student from Johns Island. Gillette was pronounced dead at the scene.
Claims that the man had not been drinking the night before the crash or the morning of the crash have raised some questions about his high blood alcohol level. Still, he has been charged for felony driving under the influence (DUI), and can face serious penalties and imprisonment if convicted.
While the crash is nothing short of a tragedy, it continues to highlight the fact that drunk driving is a national epidemic that injures and kills thousands of Americans each year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, alcohol-related auto accidents killed more than 10,000 people in 2012 alone. This equals one drunk driving death every 51 minutes in America.
Although drunk drivers can face criminal charges for their actions – which is the case in this tragic incident – victims and families will not receive any compensation in criminal cases, In order to pursue compensation for their losses, families must file lawsuits in a civil court.