LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Charges against a man who troopers say was drunk when he hit a car carrying three children and their grandparents, resulting in the death of two of the kids, have been downgraded because investigators found he was not solely at fault for the accident, according to the South Carolina Highway Patrol.
Officials initially charged 37-year-old Robert Craft with two counts of felony DUI involving death and having an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle after the Oct. 28 crash that killed 10-year-old Haley and 7-year-old Cameron Upchurch.
Authorities say the two children were riding in a car with their 9-year-old sister, Christeena, and grandparents, Wayne and Teena Rabon, when the collision occurred on South Lake Drive.
Highway Patrol investigators ruled that Wayne Rabon, who was trying to enter a private driveway while driving the family home from church, pulled in front of Craft and that both parties contributed to the crash. Authorities concluded that Craft was legally drunk, but was driving slightly below the posted 55 MPH speed limit when the collision happened.
Christeena Upchurch and the Rabons were treated at the hospital and released. Cameron, however, died at the hospital shortly after accident and Haley passed away just a few days later.
Because of the MAIT findings, Craft's charges have been downgraded to DUI 2nd offense. He was due in court on Wednesday, but that appearance was re-scheduled to Feb. 6. He has been in jail with no bond since the accident.
Both children were students at Saxe Gotha Elementary School in Lexington. Haley was a 3rd grader and Cameron was in 1st grade. Christeena is also currently in 3rd grade.