Family of DUI crash victim in shock over loss

CHARLESTON S.C. (WCIV) -- It's a family that's still in shock over the loss of their loved one.

Charleston Police say 72-year-old Eleanor Caperton died, after she was hit by a drunk driver, who was going the wrong way on the interstate.

Caperton loved her family, liked to go on girls' weekends and take cruises. She was driving home from her second job, just after midnight Sunday morning, when officers say she was hit by 19-year-old Samuel McCauley. We're told he was driving east in the westbound lane of Interstate 26, and he was drunk.

The news has started a nightmare for Caperton's niece, Gina Buchardt, who says she's gone through a range of emotions.

"A lot of anger, a lot of anger, it wasn't fair for someone to have to go that way," Buchardt says.

Since the accident Buchardt says she's often put herself in her aunt's place.

"What she went through haunts me, I can't quit thinking about it," says Buchardt. "How scared she would have been, the fright, that instant gasp, the pain that might have only lasted for a few seconds, but excruciating considering her injuries. What might have went through her head, her children who she loved so much."

Caperton had an extended family, including two sons, who have struggled with the news.

"To see a grown man drop to his knees and cry it breaks my heart."

McCauley has been charged with reckless homicide and felony DUI, and was taken to the Charleston County jail, after being released from MUSC, Tuesday.

"This boy chose to break several laws, he chose to drink underage and he chose to get in the car and drive," she says. "He wasn't alone somebody could have helped him, someone should have stopped him."

Investigators have not released McCauley's blood alcohol content or where he entered the highway. A call to McCauley's attorney was not returned as of 7:00 p.m. Wednesday.