Man charged with DUI in connection to deadly motorcycle crash

Man charged with DUI in connection to deadly motorcycle crash
Claybon Lewis Atwater

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – A man is facing charges following a deadly crash last weekend involving a motorcycle.

Claybon Lewis Atwater, 35, of Burlington, NC, is charged with two counts of felony DUI causing great bodily injury, driving under suspension and child endangerment.

The crash happened Saturday on Highway 17 South near 46th Avenue. Donna Schnell, 54, was killed in the accident. She was described as a wife, mother, nurse and an animal lover. Schnell’s husband was also injured in the wreck and transported to a local hospital for treatment.

Witnesses told officers that a four-door Mercury turned left on Highway 17 South and failed to yield the right-of-way, striking a Yamaha trike motorcycle, according to a police report.

According to the report, witnesses said that a man was driving the Mercury but switched seats with a female passenger after the wreck.

Police say while talking to Atwater, he was unsteady on his feet, smelled of alcohol and was slurring his words. He reportedly admitted to drinking earlier in the day before going to the beach.

According to the report, Atwater’s breath test showed a .11 blood alcohol content. Police say a 12-year-old child was also in the suspect’s vehicle.

Online records from the J. Reuben Long Detention Center show Atwater was released from custody Monday on $58,647.50 bond.

Copyright 2019 WMBF. All rights reserved.