Students seek justice two years after DUI driver causes injuries - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Students seek justice two years after DUI driver causes injuries

Several CCU students were in an accident caused by a drunk driver. (Source: Shelby Santos) Several CCU students were in an accident caused by a drunk driver. (Source: Shelby Santos)
A drunk driver caused an accident that injured several CCU students. (Source: Shelby Santos) A drunk driver caused an accident that injured several CCU students. (Source: Shelby Santos)

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – A group of Coastal Carolina University students is asking for justice after a drunk driver hit their taxi and injured 15 people in 2014.

The driver pleaded guilty to a driving under the influence charge last month in Georgetown County.

Shelby Santos, who was one of the 15, said the group was leaving Murrells Inlet after a night of celebrating the completion of the school year.

It was while stopped at an intersection that a drunk driver changed everything.

For Santos, the moment is a blur but the night is still, somehow, unforgettable.

"The guy was going 70 mph and rammed into the back of us. It pushed us through the stoplight,” Santos said. “I was in the back seat so I got hit with the most impact. I myself had to get staples and stitches in my head, (and suffered) a concussion. All of us had whiplash."

While most of her injuries have healed, and she's gotten back on track with school, she's still upset about a letter the victims received last month.

That letter showed the driver who hit their van pleaded guilty, and was given a $467 dollar fine or 30 days in jail.

"I think now it's just the mental that he only got a little fine from it, that it just hurts knowing what I went though and what all my friends had to go through,” Santos said.

Fifteenth Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said it all comes down to how the law is worded. In this case, it's the debate over whether anyone suffered great bodily injury.

“Great bodily injury means bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement,” described Richardson as he read it word for word.

Richardson said the justice the victims are looking for could still come, just in a civil court.

Santos and others still wish more could have been done by the judicial system.

"We had hoped that since he sent 14 people to the hospital, repercussions would be given at that level, but it didn't turn out that way,” she said.

WMBF News also talked to one of the civil attorneys in this case, Jonny McCoy, and he said his clients were left in the dark and confused about this plea deal.

He also said since an interview with WMBF News, the solicitors office had contacted him to request the medical documentation for some victims again.

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