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Rick Shapiro
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Felony DUI Driver Kills 1 While Passing in Emergency Lane

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A driver in Lexington County, South Carolina injured himself and killed his passenger when he attempted to pass several vehicles in the emergency lane of I-20 on Sept. 2. He has since been charged with felony DUI. 

According to the Lexington County, South Carolina coroner, the passenger who was killed was Wyatt Dakota Duval, 21. He was killed at the crash scene.

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The deadly car accident happened in the eastbound lane of I-20 near mile marker 60. The South Carolina Highway Patrol stated that the driver of the car used the emergency lane on the highway to pass several vehicles. The driver lost control of the car, overcorrected and caused the car to flip.

Duval was thrown from the vehicle. The driver was trapped in the car, but was freed by a state trooper. He was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. He has since been identified as Marshall B. McFarland.

The state police also reported that in addition to felony DUI, the driver has been charged with driving under suspension and transporting alcohol with the seal broken. 

Our View

Our Virginia and North Carolina DUI and personal injury attorneys send condolences to the family of the deceased passenger. There are far too many DUI fatalities in the US each year. We are glad that South Carolina upgrades a DUI to felony DUI in a case where there is death or serious bodily injury. According to the law, a person in South Carolina has committed felony DUI when he causes death, permanent disfigurement or loss or impairment of an organ or bodily member.

If convicted, the driver could face at least 30 days and up to 15 years in prison. He also can be fined up to $10,100.

These are serious criminal penalties if convicted of felony DUI in South Carolina. But what about the devastated family? A criminal sentence is all well and good. But shouldn’t the family be entitled to compensation for their loss? Fortunately, families can file a wrongful death lawsuit to obtain compensation for their loss. If found responsible for the death of the deceased passenger, the driver and his insurance policy could have to pay compensation for pain and suffering, future wages of the deceased, loss of consortium and more.

Our wrongful death attorneys have helped devastated family members to obtain much-deserved compensation in cases where a driver was found negligent and caused the death of their loved one. One of these wrongful death settlements resulted in a $2.4 million payment to the grieving family. This type of settlement brings a sense of closure and justice to the family.