SC ranks third highest in the nation for drunk driving deaths
Mon, 28 Apr 2014 23:02:07 GMT —
South Carolina is the third deadliest state in the nation when it comes to drunk driving deaths, according to a study by 24-7 Wall Street. The study shows that nearly 360 people were killed by drunk drivers in the state in 2012.
Last May, Chuck Roach and his fiancee Joan Errickson were hit by another car on Prestwick Club Drive. South Carolina Highway Patrol said the driver who hit them was drunk.
"I don't know if I was unconscious or not, but all I remember was holding her head, you know looking into her," Roach said, fighting back tears. "Looking into her eyes and seeing her look, because she always had a happy face."
Errickson was killed instantly in the wreck.
"I'm holding her head screaming for help. The life saving team pulled me out of the car, and I'm still screaming for them to help her, and one of the ladies told me there's nothing they can do for her, and that's when I basically collapsed, and they took me to a hospital," Roach explained.
Gabriel Gratto, 28, is charged with Felony DUI Resulting in Death in the wreck that killed Errickson. Although Roach survived, he's never been able to walk the same. "It has got it to where my left leg is actually two inches smaller than my right leg from the lack of use for months in the wheelchair."
We wanted to find out why South Carolina was ranked as the third deadliest for drunk driving. Myrtle Beach Police Patrolman First Class George Johnson says most DUI deaths happen for two reasons. "I believe it's the high number of people visiting from other areas who are coming in on vacation and looking to have a good time, and at the same point, I think it's some of your local residents who think I'm not going to be the one that gets stopped, I'm not going to be the one that gets involved in an accident, and they learn too late it can happen to anyone."
That 24-7 Wall St. study also shows that the state is only 20th in DUI arrests.
Governor Nikki Haley recently signed a bill into law called Emma's Law.
Now, the first conviction for driving with a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 percent or greater puts an ignition interlock on a vehicle for six months. A second conviction at 0.08 percent keeps it on for two years.