Man accused in fatal DUI crash was awaiting trial for driving drunk | News
FAIRFIELD COUNTY, SC (WIS) - The man accused of driving drunk and causing a crash that killed a 16-year-old Michigan teen on Interstate 77 in November was out of jail on awaiting trial for a previous DUI, according to a background check.
Highway Patrol investigators are asking anyone who may have witnessed the crash to come forward.
“Each fatality has a family, each fatality has a story behind it,” said Lance Corporal Billy Elder with South Carolina Highway Patrol.
This story was written the night of Sunday,November 18th around 7 p.m. just north of exit 41 on I-77 south. Authorities are still investigating the crash so they have released few details, but investigators say a 2000 model Saturn driven by Ricky Deel of Beaufort hit a2004 Dodge Durango. “The Dodge had seven occupants in it, one of those was deceased as a result of this crash, a 16 year-old male,” said Elder.
That teen, identified as, Jimmy Williams of New Boston, Michigan was in the car with his parents, two siblings and two family friends. Officials say they were driving from Michigan to Florida for a family cruise. Williams was pronounced dead at the scene. All of the other six passengers were transported to the hospital.
“As a result of this crash the driver of the Saturn, Ricky L. Deel, has been charged with felony driving under the influence involving a death, and two counts of felony driving under the influence involving great bodily injury,” said Lance Cpl. Elder.
A SLED background check shows this isn’t Deel’s first offense. In addition to being arrested several times on a variety of charges since 2008, just two months before this crash, he was arrested on his first DUI charge. Beaufort court records show Deel was out on bond awaiting a jury trial the night of the crash.
As of Monday, Deel was still being held in the Fairfield County Detention Center.
In the meantime, a wreath and a cross now mark the place where the fatal accident occurred. Authorities are asking anyone who may have any information on the crash to call SC Highway Patrol at(800) 768-1504 or dial *HP on your mobile phone.
“I-77 has a lot of traffic on it and at that time of night we're sure that there may have been other people that we haven't talked with and it's just an effort to make sure that we're as thorough as possible with our investigation,” said Elder.
WIS has spoken with the ‘News Herald Newspapers’ in the Williams’ family’s hometown in Huron County Michigan. They say they’ve learned from a friend close to the family that all of the members of the Williams’ family have been released from the hospital. However, Shannon Henry, a family friend who was traveling with the Williams’, remains in critical condition in a Michigan hospital.
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