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Firefighter charged after DUI accident involving teen

A South Carolina firefighter is facing serious criminal charges after allegedly striking a teenager while drunk behind the wheel. The man, age 50, is facing criminal charges of felony DUI resulting in great bodily injury, along with hit-and-run. The man reportedly struck the girl at about 6 p.m. on Dec. 8; bystanders found the teen in a ditch in Goose Creek. Authorities report that the driver is a civilian firefighter on Joint Base Charleston. He will be subject to penalties from the civilian justice system, not the Uniform Code of Military Justice, according to those officials.

A witness who had been walking with the girl allegedly observed the driver's Dodge strike her companion; even though the witness tried to pull the victim out of the way, she failed. Witnesses attempted to chase the vehicle, but they were unable to catch the driver as he sped up and drove away. Investigators say they found the vehicle parked at a nearby house with the front door open. The man and his wife both seemed intoxicated and disoriented. The man's wife, age 53, has been charged with obstruction of justice in the matter, as she allegedly argued that she had been behind the wheel at the time of the wreck.

Authorities eventually established that the woman's husband was, in fact, the driver at the time of the wreck. Both the man and his wife were held pending a bail hearing. News reports have not yet released information about other pending action in this criminal case.

If the man had been employed by the Navy at the time of his arrest, he would have been subject to an entirely different set of legal requirements because of the military justice system. However, since he is simply a worker on the base, he will be prosecuted under traditional civilian law. Criminal defense lawyers can help military veterans learn more about this transition if they face criminal charges such as DUI.

Source: postandcourier.com, "Joint Base Charleston firefighter charged with felony DUI after 14-year-old girl struck" Christina Elmore, Dec. 11, 2013

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