Mom Charged for Killing Children in Wreck, Faces Felony DUI Charges
A woman has been charged with two counts of felony DUI in a wreck that killed her 4-year-old and 1-year-old daughters.
Melissa Patton, 32, was arrested and charged with two counts of felony driving under the influence, as well as driving under suspension.
According to troopers, Patton was driving on Wells Highway at about 2:15 AM on Wednesday, January 1st, when the car ran off the road, hit a church sign, and overturned.
“Both children were restrained and had to be extricated from the vehicle by first responders,” said Oconee County Coroner Karl Addis. “The 1-year-old child was found in a child safety seat. She was pronounced dead at the scene.”
Addis said that the toddler sustained a cardiac arrest at the scene, and was taken to a nearby hospital by paramedics. She was pronounced dead at 3:13 AM. He added that both girls appear to have died because of head injuries.
Troopers said that Patton and a male passenger were taken to the hospital after the crash as well. Patton was arrested on felony DUI charges after being taken to the hospital for treatment, and remains in Oconee County Jail. It is unknown if she has a lawyer.
South Carolina Felony DUI Law
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.
Upon conviction of a felony DUI by jury, the accused faces a minimum mandatory prison sentence and fine. 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 suspensed 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.
A part of the mandatory sentences required to be imposed under the felony DUI law must not be suspended, and probation must not be granted for any portion.
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.