A man from Augusta was charged with serious injury by motor vehicle after a crash on June 4, but that charge has now been upgraded to homicide after his passenger died. The 37-year-old man has also been charged with DUI and with having an open container of alcohol in his vehicle.
According to The Augusta Chronicle, the accident happened around 5 p.m. when the man's vehicle struck a guardrail on a highway entrance ramp. A 20-year-old woman was riding as a passenger in the car. She suffered severe brain injuries and was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital. The young woman was taken off life support three days after the accident because she was not going to recover from the injury to her brain.
The 37-year-old driver has been charged with DUI twice before, in 2000 and 2002, which makes this third DUI charge and homicide charge even more serious. Additionally, the man was charged with serious injury by motor vehicle in 1992, according to The Augusta Chronicle. At the time of the report, police said they were unaware of the relationship between the man and his passenger. The suspect was taken to the county jail.
DUI charges are serious as is, but a DUI felony charge can be brought against a person suspected of DUI if a crash results in a serious injury for a passenger. If a passenger is killed in a vehicle and the driver is suspected of driving under the influence, the driver can be charged with vehicular homicide.
Charge upgraded after passenger dies (The Augusta Chronicle)