Ex-Lexington teacher pleads guilty to fatal DUI, now awaits sentence

Judge undecided of fate for Lexington Co. woman who pled guilty of fatal DUI

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Through tears, Nicole Wilson made two pleas Friday morning.

"I can honestly say that I'm not the same person now that I was 18 months ago," she told a crowded Lexington courtroom. "I have not touched any alcohol since the night of my accident."

Her first plea was a legal one. She pleaded guilty to felony DUI and to killing a man in January of last year.

Assistant Solicitor Robby McNair told the court what happened on the night of January 5, 2017. Wilson, then 29, had multiple beers at D's Wings and at a kickball tournament. At the same time, 75-year-old Roger Johnson was driving his great-granddaughter home from a shift at Applebee's.

"The defendant ran a red light on 378 and t-boned Mr. Johnson on the driver's side door in the middle of the intersection," McNair said. "When {a Lexington officer} spoke to her, he could smell alcohol on her breath and saw signs of impairment."

Johnson was pronounced dead at Lexington Medical Center. Wilson was arrested. Her blood alcohol was .2 three hours after the crash, McNair said.

In the courtroom Friday, some of Johnson's family members were so overcome with emotion they needed help reading their victim impact statements to the judge.

"I believe there are people in this world that are givers, and there are those who are takers. I know my father was a giver," said Kimberly Cockrell, with MADD, who read a statement written by Johnson's daughter, Wanda Miller.

After Wilson made her first plea - a guilty one - she made another. A tearful Wilson-along with her parents, priest, and friends-asked Judge Eugene Griffith for house arrest and probation, rather than prison time. They pointed to things like her strong Christian faith, her ongoing therapy sessions, and her incredible remorse.

"I remember the night she got out of jail as she began to realize some of what she'd lost," Wilson's mother said. "She cried out, 'I am so stupid!' That's where her remorse started."

To the surprise of some in the courtroom, Judge Griffith didn't sentence Wilson at the end of the hearing Friday and said he'd need a few more weeks to consider the statements from both sides and make a decision.

WIS is told some family members of Johnson, some of whom traveled great lengths to be in the courtroom, were a bit disappointed by the slight delay.

Copyright 2018 WIS. All rights reserved.