James “Jimmy” Franklin Williams, a 16-year-old Huron Township High School junior, died in an accident on Sunday evening November 18 as he and his family headed to Florida on vacation. The family was planning to cruise to the Bahamas; in all, there were 7 people in the vehicle that ultimately crashed in Fairfield County, S.C. on Interstate 77.
Another man has since been charged with driving under the influence. The Williams family was driving a Dodge Durango en route to Florida when a 2000 Saturn struck their vehicle. It was driven by 34-year-old Ricky Lance Deel of Beaufort. Deel was charged with felony DUI.
News reports state that Williams was one of the most popular students at Huron Township High School, and that he was a football player; he was ejected from the Durango when the crash took place.
Williams’ mother, father, and siblings were also injured in the crash, as was a recent graduate of Huron High School, Shannon Henry. Williams’ father underwent surgery after suffering serious head injuries in the crash.
Deel was transported to the Fairfield County Detention Center following his arrest, where he remained in custody on Monday.
Michigan criminal defense lawyers know that a felony DUI is serious; those convicted may face as many as 5 years in prison, and have their driver’s license suspended with no chance of obtaining even a restricted license for five years. However, in cases such as the above where the defendant may be facing additional charges of vehicular assault or manslaughter, the penalties will be much more severe. If convicted, individuals face up to 15 years in prison for DUI causing death under Michigan law.
This is truly a sad situation; however, every individual accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If you have been charged with DUI, OUI, DWI or any offense involving operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, consult with an aggressive and capable Michigan DUI defense attorney at once.