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South Carolina man accused of DUI deaths at festival

A driver who plowed into a crowd of concertgoers at a famous music festival has been identified as a native of South Carolina. The man, who currently lives in Killeen, Texas, originally hails from Orangeburg. That 21-year-old defendant is accused of drunk driving after reportedly plowing into a crowd of revelers at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin.

Authorities report that a third person has died in connection with the wreck, which occurred on March 13. Two people, ages 27 and 35, were declared dead at the scene of the accident, and the most recent 26-year-old victim died after battling serious injuries for several days. More than 20 other people suffered injury after the driver allegedly drove onto a street crowded with pedestrians.

Officials say that the defendant is facing charges of aggravated assault with a motor vehicle and capital murder in connection with the OUI offense. The defendant is accused of attempting to flee from police officers after they tried to pull him over at a nearby gas station for driving the wrong way down a one-way street. In an attempt to evade the officers, the man is thought to have plowed through a barricade and onto a crowded street. A police officer that was standing guard at that barricade was nearly hit, only compounding the seriousness of the accident. The man is also accused of striking several vehicles during the DUI incident.

Witnesses are still being sought in the investigation, and those with video evidence are urged to turn the information over to officers before posting those tapes online. Further, authorities say that they expect that charges in the matter will be upgraded after the death of the most recent victim. Those increased charges may lead to more severe penalties.

Those South Carolina residents who are facing drunk driving charges along with other serious criminal violations may benefit from the assistance of a criminal defense attorney. Even drivers with a high BAC level or failed field sobriety test still have legal rights in court. An arrest for drunk driving does not necessarily mean that a conviction will occur.

Source:  WBTW News 13, "SC driver plows into festival crowd with 2 dead, 23 hurt, officials say" Associated Press, Mar. 13, 2014

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