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South Carolina man sentenced in fatal DUI crash

A Greenwood, South Carolina, man has been sentenced to 13 years behind bars for a fatal collision that occurred back in 2014 when he was intoxicated. The man was found guilty of two felony DUI charges -- one resulting in death and another causing great bodily injury.

He could have faced a sentence as long as 25 years for a fatal DUI. However, his 13-year sentence for the death and eight-year sentence for the injury will be served concurrently. A 27-year-old man died at the scene. A passenger in his car was hospitalized with severe lower-body injuries. The defendant was also hospitalized for his injuries. He was found to have a blood-alcohol content of .19, which is more than twice the legal limit.

The crash occurred in mid-November of 2014 on S.C. 225 near the intersection of U.S. 25 S. The defendant struck the other vehicle head-on after crossing the center line.

In November 15, 2014, Rowell was driving along S.C. 225 about a mile from the intersection on U.S. 25 S. when he crossed the center line and collided head-on with another vehicle driven by Cockrell.

The prosecutor praised the jury's decision, saying, "Time and time again we have seen accidents caused by drunk driving rip families apart ... While this verdict and long prison sentence cannot bring [the victim] back to his loved ones, it is my hope and prayer that it serves to give them some closure."

Obviously, virtually no one intends to harm or kill someone while behind the wheel. Unfortunately, people can make very poor decisions when they are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. They have to live with the consequences of those decisions for the rest of their lives. South Carolina criminal defense attorneys can work to protect their rights in the justice system and to help mitigate the penalties they face.

Source: The Clinton Chronicle, "Greenwood case has trial; sentencing was today," Vic MacDonald, Feb. 27, 2017

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