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South Carolina man facing charges in DUI, officer death

A man from South Carolina has officially been charged in connection with the DUI death of a police officer in another state. Charges that have been filed against the 33-year-old defendant include reckless homicide, aggravated DUI and DUI related to death. The victim in this case, a 29-year-old officer, died when his vehicle was struck while it was parked on a highway median. The defendant is accused of veering off the northbound side of a road, striking the officer's SUV. Also killed in the accident was the victim's K-9 partner.

The defendant in this case could face a 14-year jail term on the aggravated DUI charge alone. The counts that have been entered in this case are felonies, which means that the man would be required to serve 85 percent of his prison sentence before he would be eligible for release.

Authorities report that the accident occurred at about 9:30 p.m., and emergency responders arrived on the scene shortly thereafter. The man died about an hour after the collision, and the alleged drunk driver also suffered some injury. That man was released one day after the crash and faced immediate arrest by state police. The dog died at the scene of the collision.

Statements show that the man may have been drinking at a nearby establishment before the collision. So far, surveillance tape corroborates that assertion, with video showing that the man had been drinking for five hours. His exact blood alcohol content has not been released, but it exceeded 0.08 percent. In addition, the defendant in the case admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel, waking up moments before the collision.

An arrest for drunk driving in South Carolina does not mean that the defendant is automatically guilty. In this case and many others, defendants have rights and options that can help them maximize the outcome of their criminal case. Defense attorneys can provide additional information to help those defendants make the best choices about their personal futures.

www.pantagraph.com, "S.C. man charged with aggravated DUI in officer's death" Phyllis Coulter & Roger Miller, Nov. 02, 2013

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