61-year-old charged with felony DUI pleads guilty

Margaret Deas (File photo/provided)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Sixty-one year old Samuel Thompson, Jr. pleaded guilty to the felony charge of driving under the influence.

He was charged in the death of 78-year-old Margaret Deas after an accident that happened on Sept. 20, 2011. She died of internal injuries hours later.

According to officials in the Ninth Judicial Circuit Solicitor's office, Thompson "abruptly changed his mind" and entered his plea before the beginning of the second day of testimony.

Naomi Nation with the Solicitor's office said testimony at trial revealed that Thompson struck Deas' car on I-26 Eastbound near the Rutledge Avenue exit.Witnesses told the jury that Thompson was speeding when he swerved, struck the guard rail, went into the center median and then hit the vehicle driven by Deas.

Nation said two opened mini-bottles of banana schnapps were found in Thompson's vehicle after the accident.

Assistant Solicitor Gregory Voigt told the court that the next witness, a toxicologist, was prepared to testify that the blood sample taken from Thompson at the hospital revealed a blood alcohol level of .238, nearly three times the legal limit.

Circuit Judge Deadra Jefferson sentenced Thompson to nine years in prison and he is not eligible for parole.

Deas is survived by two daughters and ten grandchildren.