Mexican Immigrant Receives 15 Year Sentence for Near Death Collision in Felony DUI Case
A man who traveled to South Carolina from Mexico to help support his family has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for a felony DUI that now has the victim in constant need of medical support.
Santos Gomez, 48, was high on a mix of beer and methamphetamines in September 2012 when he hit Alan Martinez’s vehicle, while going 70 mph the wrong way on I-77.
The victim, Alan Martinez, reportedly dropped out of George Washington University in 2001 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and joined the US Air Force Academy. He served in the Air Force for a time, then entered the University of South Carolina law school, and also worked in the community with neglected children and for animal rights.
“This man (Gomez) needs to sit away for a long time and think about the life that will now never will be the same,” Kelli Wood, a close friend of Martinez’s, wrote in a letter read in court. “Please put this man behind bars for as long as possible.”
Today, Martinez requires 24 hour nursing care. His medical bills caused his family’s home in Florida to be foreclosed upon, and his mother quit her law practice to help her husband care for their disabled son.
“Don’t let this man do this to anybody else,” George Martinez, Alan’s father, pleaded. He also wrote a letter to the judge, because caring for his son prevented him from appearing at the felony DUI trial.
Gomez, now convicted of a felony DUI, will be eligible for parole after serving ¼ of his sentence. After he serves his time, he will be deported.
According to Gomez’s attorney, the man came to the US from a war-torn and violent part of Mexico. He only wanted to provide money for his family back home, which was difficult. He had a few beers to relax after one working at a job site 250 miles from where he was staying in SC, and someone handed him an “energy pill” to help him get home, which turned out to have methamphetamines in it.
“That [pill] unfortunately turned him into a wide-awake drunk,” Gomez’s attorney said.
Penalties for Causing Death While Driving Under the Influence – Felony DUI
A person will be charged with a felony for driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both, if while operating the vehicle under the influence, the person causes “great bodily injury” or death to a person other than himself including a passenger, pedestrian, another driver.
A DUI conviction that includes a felony conviction for causing the death of another includes a mandatory minimum sentence of at least 1 year in prison with a maximum 25 years imprisonment, and a minimum mandatory fine of not less than $10,100, nor more than $25,100. Additionally, the convicted person’s driver’s license is suspended for the term of imprisonment plus five years. A felony DUI conviction for causing great bodily injury includes a mandatory minimum of 30 days to a maximum of 15 years imprisonment, plus a mandatory fine of at least $5,000, not to exceed $10,100. Also, the DMV must suspend the convicted person’s driver’s license for the term of imprisonment plus three years.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Felony DUI Charges in South Carolina
Based in Columbia, SC, the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm collectively have over 30 years of experience with South Carolina law. The firm was founded in 1996 by former US Attorney and Assistant Solicitor Pete Strom. If you face felony DUI charges in South Carolina, we can help. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case. Do not let DUI or felony DUI charges prevent you from pursuing opportunities. Contact us today. 803.252.4800.