Woman sentenced to 16 years for crash that killed 2, injured 2 more, solicitor says
GREENWOOD, S.C. (WYFF) - A Laurens County woman was sentenced to 16 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges, according to 8th Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo.
Khelsy Chanta Rice, 40, of Clinton, pleaded guilty Thursday to charges stemming from a fatal 2018 crash, Stumbo said.
Stumbo said the crash happened near the Dance South Studio on Highway 76 between Clinton and Joanna.
Authorities said Rice pleaded guilty Thursday afternoon at the Greenwood County Courthouse to two counts of felony DUI resulting in death and two counts of felony DUI with great bodily injury.
According to officials, Rice's case was scheduled for trial during the next term of court for Laurens County; however, Rice chose to change her plea to guilty “straight up,” meaning there were no negotiations or recommendations on sentencing by the state.
Circuit Judge Thomas L. Hughston sentenced Rice to 16 years in prison on each of the charges resulting in death and 10 years in prison on each of the charges resulting in great bodily injury, with the sentences to run concurrently.
Officials said the maximum sentence in South Carolina for felony DUI resulting in death is 25 years in prison.
Authorities said just before midnight May 19, 2018, Rice was driving a 2004 Taurus on U.S. Highway 76 near Grain Bin Road when she veered across the center line and struck a 2007 Ford Mustang head-on.
Two passengers in the Mustang, 65-year-old Marge Seymore and 63-year-old Lois “Bit” King, both died as a result of the crash, and two other passengers were airlifted to area hospitals to receive treatment for their injuries.
Rice’s blood toxicology results showed both high amounts of methamphetamine and trace amounts of alcohol at the time of the crash.
Knox McMahon, 8th Circuit special prosecutor, and Assistant Solicitor Julie Kate Keeney handled the case for the state, with assistance from victim advocate Rhetta Christian.
Rice was represented by Tristan Shaffer, of the Public Defender’s Office.
Stumbo praised the work of his staff, along with the state Highway Patrol in securing the conviction and lengthy prison sentence.
Stumbo said: “The irresponsible choices made by Khelsy Rice on that fateful night have left two families with voids that can never be filled. Although there is nothing that we can do in the courtroom to bring these beloved ladies back, my prayer is that their families have gained some closure and can continue to move forward in their healing process. We also hope during this holiday season that the message is heard loud and clear that, if you choose to drive while intoxicated, you will be held accountable.”
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