Report: Solicitor's office dropped felony DUI in 2nd fatal 526 wreck

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Police charged one man with reckless homicide the day after a second fatal accident on I-526.

Arnold Williams' bond was set at $100,000.

The Charleston County Coroner's Office identified the victim as 27-year-old Lauren Baccari. She died from injuries sustained in the wreck, officials said.

A police report from North Charleston states that a witness saw Williams take a pack of beer out of the cab of his truck and toss it over the guard rail right after the accident. However, the investigation revealed that Williams was driving too fast for conditions due to a prior accident on I-526.

Officers at the scene initially charged Williams with felony DUI, according to the report, but the solicitor's office dismissed the charge and charged him with reckless homicide instead.

Traffic on I-526 was at a standstill again on Monday for a second fatal accident in less than 24 hours, officials said.

According to North Charleston police, a six-vehicle wreck happened on I-526 near the Rivers Avenue exit around 12:30 p.m. Officers said a pair of 18-wheelers and four other vehicles are involved in the accident.

Officers found that during the investigation, the accident was caused by traffic congestion that resulted from an earlier accident on I-526.

The driver of one of the 18-wheelers tried to stop, but failed and rear-ended one of the vehicles, which caused a chain reaction. The force of the collision pinned one vehicle under a tractor trailer.

That driver of the car pinned under the truck died on the scene of the accident, police said.

Police said at least one person is dead and two others have been transported to area hospitals.

Investigators spent most of the afternoon and evening investigating the accident. The highway reopened shortly before 9 p.m.

Baccari was a student at the Medical University of South Carolina. On Wednesday, the school released this statement:

"The MUSC College of Medicine and the entire MUSC family are deeply saddened following the sudden loss of Lauren Baldwin Baccari.

"A native of Little River, South Carolina and a College of Charleston graduate, Lauren was a fourth year medical student at MUSC and was just a few months away from embarking on her chosen career path of family medicine. Lauren was also a wife, sister, daughter and treasured friend.

"Among students, professors and staff within the College of Medicine, Lauren was known for being a passionate learner who always exhibited a positive attitude and devotion to others. She consistently embraced opportunities to expand her medical skill-set so that she would be ready and able to provide great care to her patients.

"Lauren was a vibrant and active member of both the Charleston and MUSC communities. She worked regularly with the student C.A.R.E.S. clinic, providing healthcare for some of the most underserved in our area. Lauren was also involved with work through Crisis Ministries and the Waring Historical Society.

"In tribute of her life and her legacy within our MUSC family, the College of Medicine is developing plans to honor Lauren during this year's commencement ceremony, when she had been scheduled to participate. The Lauren Baccari FamTrack Fund has been established in her honor. This fund will support activities of the FamTrack interest group and support students interested in family medicine to foster their interests and encourage their pursuit of careers in family medicine. Donations may be sent to the Lauren Baccari FamTrack Fund in care of the MUSC Foundation, 18 Bee Street, MSC 450, Charleston, SC, 29425.

"Our hearts and minds are focused on Lauren's husband, family and friends. While we struggle with the loss of such a bright, talented and selfless young woman, we realize we were privileged to have known her and to have been so strongly influenced by her contributions to our medical community."