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Woman with multiple DWIs gets in wreck, kills 1

It's a death that should never have happened. The 79-year-old South American grandmother had left her native Columbia to visit extended family here in the United States. She enjoyed a trip to New York where she saw a play on Broadway and Niagara Falls.

She was on her way back from Hilton Head, South Carolina, to Charlotte, North Carolina, with her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter when the car in which she was riding was struck by an allegedly drunk driver who had already been convicted more than once of the same charge.

The collision happened around 2 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20, when the other driver crossed the grass median into the family's lane on South Tryon Street by the Steele Creek location, according to police reports. The grandmother and mother of eight adult children died from the internal injuries she suffered in the accident.

The allegedly impaired driver was a 23-year-old woman from Clover, South Carolina. Her record includes a conviction for driving while intoxicated in July of 2014 in Mecklenburg County and another in York, South Carolina, just three months later. For the North Carolina case, she was sentenced to probation and community service and probation; she paid fines for the case in the South Carolina court. She also has one pending charge of DUI from December of 2012 in Clover, South Carolina.

She will be charged with still another DWI, possession of marijuana, careless/reckless driving, felony serious injury by motor vehicle and felony death by motor vehicle once she is released from Carolinas Medical Center where she was taken in serious condition from her injuries from the accident. Police plan to serve her with the warrants when she is discharged.

One of the woman's sons-in-law, a retired reporter for a local TV station said, "I can't believe this person was back on the road. You would think (she) would have learned her lesson the first time... but . . . [t]his will not go away lightly. We will be in the courtroom and do everything we can do legally."

Also seriously injured in the accident was the driver, another of the woman's sons-in-law, who already had three separate surgeries and still needs a fourth. His wife is also still hospitalized, along with their 11-year-old daughter.

Families facing similar circumstances following the death of a loved one due to a drunk driver may decide to also pursue civil justice through the courts.

Source: The Charlotte Observer, "Grandmother, visiting family in U.S., killed in wreck involving driver with multiple DWIs," Mark Price, Aug. 22, 2016

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