YORK COUNTY, S.C. — Prosecutors in York County on Wednesday said a fatal DUI wreck over the summer involving Freddy Sanders was as close to an intentional act as any they’ve ever seen.
Sanders, 64, admitted that he saw 26-year-old Sherman Smith was on his motorcycle but turned in front of the bike anyway.
Smith hit Sanders’ Honda Ridgeline pickup broadside and was killed.
The deadly crash happened on July 18 at West Main Street and Bynum Avenue in Rock Hill.
Sanders was pulling out onto Main Street when he collided with Smith. Two hours after the crash, Sanders had a blood alcohol level of 0.17, which is more than double the legal limit.
He initially told officers at the scene that he’d only had one beer.
On Wednesday, Paul Allen stood in court in tears and talked about the loss of his stepson, which was four months to the day after his death.
“I consider myself a very forgiving person, but taking the life of another human being, who couldn’t walk his mother down the aisle, who will never have another birthday, another Christmas,” Allen said.
Smith’s mother, Maggie Gil, said someone should have stopped Sanders from driving that night.
“Being 64 years old, you should know this is not OK,” she said.
Prosecutors pointed out that Sanders had another DUI in 1996.
“Even though it was 24 years ago, he should have learned from it,” said Matthew Shelton, senior assistant solicitor.
Both sides agreed to a sentence of between six and 14 years. The public defender asked for six years, and the prosecutor requested the maximum of 14 years.
Judge Daniel Hall sentenced Sanders to 10 years in prison.
Smith was a U.S. Army veteran who dreamed of starting a family, his mother said.
“Everybody has a time but if that was his time, I wasn’t ready,” she said. “I wasn’t ready to let him go.”
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Cox Media Group