Rock Hill Woman Charged with Felony DUI for Hitting Pedestrian in September
After a month of investigation, an Edgemoor-area woman has been charged with felony DUI after striking a pedestrian in a hit and run crash.
On Thursday, October 9th, Melodie Morris, 40, was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of an accident with great bodily injury, and charged with felony DUI.
The accident occurred on September 29th. Around 9:30 PM, police found a 57-year-old man lying in the road near Russell Street in Rock Hill, SC. A witness stated that the man had been walking in the road, staggering back and forth. The witness, who was standing in front of her house, asked the man if he was drunk, and he replied that he was not. The woman said she was waving her arms to get traffic to go around him, and one car managed to see him and swerve around, but the second car did not. The vehicle then fled the scene of the accident.
The vehicle reportedly stopped briefly after hitting the man, who was wedged underneath. The Jeep Cherokee then sped off, with the man stuck under the car, for about 120 yards. As of Friday, October 10th, the victim is still being treated in the hospital.
A police investigation identified Morris as the suspect after identifying her as the owner of the Jeep Cherokee. Police found a dark blood smear and clump of hair underneath the vehicle.
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 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.
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.
A driver who is over the age of 18 but under 21 charged with DUI may additionally be charged with child endangerment and subject to additional criminal penalties if they are carrying a passenger younger than 16. The underage DUI suspect could also face reckless endangerment charges, charges for being a minor in possession of drugs or alcohol, or vehicle violations. If you are over 21 years old and you distributed alcohol to a minor which led to an underage DUI charge or accident, you could face serious charges of child endangerment and distributing alcohol to minors, which can lead to a revoked driver’s license or business license.
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.