Greenville man sentenced for fatal Cleveland accident
- Wednesday, 27 June 2012
- Written by James Richardson
GREENVILLE, S.C. – On Tuesday, a Greenville man pleaded guilty to felony driving under the influence resulting in death and leaving the scene of an accident involving death.
Assistant Solicitor Sara Lee Drawdy said on January 23, 2011, 34-year-old Billy Joe Hannah drove his wife’s SUV off the right side of North River Rd. in Cleveland, SC, and down a steep embankment, striking a number of trees on the way down.
Hannah fled the scene, leaving his dying passenger, James Scott Sullivan, still strapped in the passenger seat, Drawdy said.
A motorist noticed the crashed car and called 911 to report the accident. Sullivan was already deceased by the time EMS arrived.
While EMS and fire department personnel were looking for the driver – whom they feared may have been ejected – troopers with the South Carolina Highway Patrol began their investigation and found that the vehicle was registered to Hannah's wife. They also said they found an open container of beer and a damaged milk jug that smelled strongly of some type of liquor.
A man came to the scene of the accident and told officers that Hannah had walked up to his home about one hour earlier and asked for a ride home.
Hannah’s wife brought him back to the scene of the crash, and troopers said he smelled of alcohol, had some scrapes on his face, and told them he had been driving at the time of the crash.
Hannah was transported by EMS to be checked out in the emergency room. A blood sample taken while at the hospital revealed marijuana metabolites and a blood alcohol content of 0.111%.
Hannah was sentenced to concurrent sentences of twenty-five years, suspended to twelve years on both charges. He will have to serve 12 years before he becomes eligible for parole.
(Photo courtesy of Greenville County Detention Center.)