Felony DUI Sentence Is Imposed
Man sentenced to more than 18 years in prison DUI crash that killed step-daughter
Abbeville – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Monday that a Honea Path man will spend more than 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges in connection to a crash that left his 7-year-old step-daughter dead.
Donald Jerry Harris, 36, of Honea Path, pleaded guilty Monday at the Abbeville County Courthouse to charges of felony DUI resulting in death, felony DUI resulting in great bodily injury, child endangerment, and driving under suspension. A trial on the same charges was scheduled for jury selection Monday morning before Harris elected to change his plea from not guilty to guilty.
Circuit Judge Frank Addy Jr. then handed down a sentence of 18 years and six months in prison.
Just after 6 p.m. on March 11, 2017, Harris was driving along Tornado Road near Honea Path in Abbeville County in a white SUV when he began to drift to the right. Harris jerked the vehicle back to the left, running off the left side of the road. Harris then jerked the vehicle back to the right, causing it to roll over. In the vehicle with Harris were his wife and three children, including his step-daughter Abigail who died at the scene.
Harris and his wife were both taken by helicopter to Greenville Health System to receive treatment for their injuries. The other two children were taken to AnMed before being transferred to Greenville Health System. Harris’ mother was also on scene and claimed to be driving he vehicle. It was later determined that Harris was driving the vehicle. Harris had a blood-alcohol level of about .10 at the time of the crash.
Harris’ mother, Penny Harris, pleaded guilty on May 9 to a charge of obstructing justice in connection to her dishonesty about driving the vehicle at the time of the crash.
Assistant Solicitors Micah Black and Wade Dowtin handled the case for the state with assistance from 8th Circuit Investigator Chris Wilkie and Victim Advocate Sarah Parris. Harris was represented by Kami Granade and Tristan Shaffer of the Abbeville Public Defender’s Office.Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff along with the S.C. Highway Patrol’s Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team in securing the conviction and long prison sentence.
“There are no sadder days than the days on which families have to bury a child for senseless, reckless behavior,” Solicitor Stumbo said following the proceeding. “While there is no conviction or sentence that can bring little Abby back, it is my hope and prayer that those who loved her can gain some closure by knowing Donald Harris will not be able to endanger the lives of any other human beings for a long time to come.”
Also announced by 8th Circuit Solicitor:
Drug dealer receives maximum sentence for selling pills that led to overdose death
Greenwood – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo has announced that a Greenwood drug dealer was sentenced to 20 years in prison after selling the dangerous drug Fentanyl to a Ninety Six man, leading to the man’s overdose death.
Octavious Calliham, 26, pleaded guilty on May 8 to charges of involuntary manslaughter and distribution of Fentanyl, with sentencing being deferred until Friday morning.
Circuit Judge Frank Addy Jr. sentenced Calliham to 20 years in prison, suspended to five years in prison and four years of probation, with the first year of probation being under intense supervision.
The imposed sentence is the maximum allowable under state law on both charges.
“In all my years in law enforcement and as Coroner, I have dealt with few cases as heart-breaking as this one,” Greenwood County Coroner Sonny Cox said following the sentencing. “I hope this sends a loud message to drug dealers all over South Carolina and the entire nation that they will be held accountable for peddling this poison on the streets.”
On August 10, 2017, authorities responded to the home of 31-year-old Michael Pridmore after receiving a report of an unresponsive male in the home. Cox pronounced Pridmore dead just after 5 p.m. of an apparent overdose of Fentanyl. Agents with the Greenwood Drug Enforcement Unit were able to locate Calliham, who sold Pridmore the Fentanyl, and perform a controlled buy to obtain deadly Fentanyl pills. DEU agents immediately took Calliham into custody after the controlled buy was completed.
Assistant Solicitor Josh Thomas handled the case for the state, with assistance from Victim Advocate Mary Ann Stroup. Calliham was represented by Andrew Hodges of the Greenwood County Bar.
Solicitor Stumbo, who praised the work of his staff along with Lt. Chad Cox and Inv. Clint Burden of the DEU, echoed the Coroner’s sentiment and vowed to continue taking the fight to the dealers on the streets.
"We will continue to fight the opioid epidemic with all of the tools available to us under the law, including homicide indictments for drug dealers who are pushing deadly, concentrated amounts of fentanyl onto our streets," said Stumbo after the sentencing. "I hope that Mr. Pridmore's family can find some peace and closure in the wake of this, and other opioid dealers in South Carolina will take notice of this conviction and prison sentence."