Four months after prosecutors in Charleston County dropped charges against a 46-year-old man for his role in a fatal hit-and-run accident that killed a bicyclist, the man is once again facing criminal charges. Prosecutors say that evidence that was not available when the charges were dropped has come to light that strengthens their case against the driver.
The bicycle accident took place on James Island in Charleston on Aug. 17. A 40-year-old man was riding his bicycle on Riverland Drive when he was struck by the defendant's car. According to police, the defendant stopped and began applying CPR to the victim, but as other people approached, he reportedly told them that he had to get something from his car. He got in and drove away, only to return about 40 minutes later. The cyclist died of his injuries.
Officers arrested the driver upon his return. He was charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving death, but charges were dropped in September when his attorney successfully argued before the court that he had fulfilled his legal duties at the scene.
But the solicitor's office continued to investigate. In October, they released a report that revealed that city police officers suspected the defendant was drunk before sheriff's deputies arrived and took over the accident scene. Deputies claimed at the time they had no reason to test the defendant's blood-alcohol level, though he had admitted drinking at a party and offered to give a blood sample. A new South Carolina law will require sobriety tests for all driver suspected of causing a fatal accident.
The victim's father thanked prosecutors for continuing to investigate after the dropped charge.
Source: The Post and Courier, "Grand jury revives hit-and-run charge in crash involving DNR reservist," Andrew Knapp, Dec. 13, 2012