Edgefield County driver gets prison for DUI that left kids scarred

John Williams Jr.
John Williams Jr.(Contributed)
Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 1:58 PM EDT
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EDGEFIELD, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - A 53–year-old Edgefield County man was sentenced to 15 years in prison for a DUI crash that injured three people, scarring two children’s faces for life.

John Williams Jr., 53, pleaded guilty this week to felony driving under the influence with great bodily injury, according to prosecutors. Circuit Court Judge Jocelyn Newman sentenced Williams to the maximum sentence allowed under South Carolina law.

The crash happened on June 5, 2021, as Williams was driving a Toyota Camry north on U.S. 25 in Edgefield County.

Williams was not using his headlights as he crossed over the center line and the Camry collided head-on with a Ford Ranger that was traveling south, according to prosecutors.

The Ranger was occupied by a grandfather and his 5- and 6-year-old grandchildren, and all three were badly injured. They survived and were released from the hospital after several days, but the children have permanent scars on their faces.

Officers from the South Carolina Highway Patrol investigated the collision and noticed Williams smelled like alcohol and had slurred speech, according to prosecutors.

Williams was taken to the hospital, as well, for treatment.

During the investigation, his blood alcohol level was found to be 0.337 percent, which is over four times the legal limit of 0.08 in South Carolina.

During sentencing, the children’s mother addressed the court, expressing how the wreck has impacted her children’s lives.

The mother, who is an active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force, shared that her children now have anxiety about riding in cars and struggled in school after the wreck.

She further shared that her daughter, now a 7-year-old gymnast, has worked to rebuild her confidence as she now performs her routines with ribbons in her hair and scars on her face.

The mom said her children’s friends and classmates often ask about the injuries, causing her children to relive the trauma of the wreck.

Williams has prior convictions for DUI and possession of marijuana, according to prosecutors.