David Robert Lee, a Clemson University employee who was charged with a DUI, is being sued for wrongful death.
Police reports said that Lee hit a 79-year-old woman crossing Main Street on March 8. Virginia Byrne was hospitalized and died of blunt force trauma to the head on March 10.
Her husband, Leonard Byrne, filed a lawsuit against Lee, alleging that he was negligent in driving while drunk and rapidly accelerating his car in an area that many pedestrians walk through.
Byrne said that he and his wife were coming back from church around 8 p.m. when he parked his vehicle on Main Street close to their home in downtown Greenville. They crossed Main Street when they saw Lee driving toward them in a Ford pickup truck. Byrne said he waived at him to stop and tapped on his passenger side window.
As Byrne was walking toward their front door, he heard Lee’s truck accelerate and a loud scream and a thump.
“Mr. Byrne turned around to find his wife lying motionless on the ground in front of the defendant’s truck,” according to the suit.
When police arrived to the scene, Lee reportedly refused to take a breathalyzer test. He told police that he saw a man cross the street, but didn’t see Virginia Byrne in the road and that she wasn’t in the crosswalk.
The police report says that Lee smelled of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes and admitted to drinking.
Lee is scheduled to appear in court on April 30 for his first DUI charge.
Donnie Porter, a spokesman for the Greenville Police Department, said the investigation is ongoing and the charges haven’t been upgraded to felony DUI yet.
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