Man involved in crash that killed two kids arrested for DUI again

Published: Dec. 9, 2013 at 7:53 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 19, 2013 at 9:27 PM EST
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Robert Darren Craft (Source: Lexington County Detention Center)
Robert Darren Craft (Source: Lexington County Detention Center)
Cameron Upchurch and Haley Upchurch
Cameron Upchurch and Haley Upchurch

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - A man troopers say was drunk in 2011 when he hit a car carrying three children and their grandparents, resulting in the death of two of the kids, has been charged with DUI again.

Robert Darren Craft, 39, of Pelion, faces charges of DUI second offense after an early morning arrest in a convenience store parking lot Friday.

According to a Springdale Police Department incident report, an officer heard the sound of tires squealing in the Circle K parking lot on Airport Blvd. around 2 a.m.

The officer approached the vehicle and asked Craft why he was squealing the vehicle's tires. According to the incident report, Craft replied in "very slurred speech" that it wasn't him.

Craft, who had bloodshot eyes and alcohol on his breath, said he had "two beers" and agreed to a series of field sobriety tests. He did not pass the tests, the report states.

The officer then arrested Craft and took him to the Cayce Department of Public Safety for a breath test. On the way to the headquarters, Craft told the officer he wasn't going to blow, according to the report.

When Craft was given an opportunity to provide a breath sample, he sent a short burst of breath into the mouthpiece and then puffed his cheeks up before taking the mouthpiece out and complaining that he was out of breath, the report states.

After the camera was turned off, Craft admitted to the officer that he wasn't blowing into the breath tube, according to the report.

Craft was booked into the Lexington County Detention Center on DUI second offense, but online court records indicate this charge may be his third DUI.

Craft was convicted of DUI in February, 2012 in connection with a deadly crash on South Lake Drive on October 28, 2011. Haley and Cameron Upchurch died after that collision.

The 10-year-old and 7-year-old were headed home from church with their grandparents and 9-year-old sister when the accident happened.

Craft collided with the family's van as it was headed toward a driveway. Craft was initially charged with two counts of felony DUI involving death and having an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle. Those charges were downgraded after South Carolina Highway Patrol investigators ruled that Wayne Rabon 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 occurred.

Because of the findings, Craft's charges were downgraded to DUI 2nd offense. He was convicted in February, 2012 and sentenced to three years in prison and a fine of $2,100 according to court records.

The attorney who represented Craft estimates he spent about a year in prison before being released.

Our examination of court records indicate Craft was also found guilty of DUI in December, 2008. He was ordered to pay a fine of $997.

Springdale Police Chief Kevin Cornett says he's checking to see whether the current charge should be upgraded.

Approximately a year after the crash, the speed limit on South Lake Dr. between New Orangeburg Rd. and Bethany Church Rd. was lowered from 55 mph to 45 mph.

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