(Anderson, SC). Riley McDermott pled guilty today in Anderson General Sessions Court to 3 counts of Felony DUI with Death and 2 counts of Felony DUI with Great Bodily Injury. The Honorable Cordell Maddox sentenced McDermott to 18 years in prison. 

 

On November 8, 2014, twenty-four year old Riley McDermott, an assistant basketball coach at Anderson University, was driving a Ford F150 south on Williamston Road when he crossed the centerline colliding with a Nissan Altima carrying 5 people. According to the SCHP accident reconstruction reports, the defendant was traveling at a rate of 73 mph. The posted speed limit at the scene was 35 mph. Three people in the Nissan were killed. Two passengers in the Nissan were transported to AnMed in critical condition. McDermott and his passenger were also transported to AnMed.   

 

Upon arrival at the scene, officers from Anderson Police Department witnessed the defendant exiting his truck and falling to the ground. They noticed a strong odor of alcohol and observed him to have slurred speech. McDermott told the officers he had been at a bar drinking and repeatedly said, “I screwed up”. At AnMed, a blood sample was taken from the defendant which was subsequently tested by SLED, revealing a BAC of .187%. A video from one of the bars the defendant and his friend had visited on the night of the incident, as well as credit card records and a receipt found at the scene, later confirmed that the defendant had been drinking the night of the crash.  

 

During the course of the investigation,  an officer who was with the Anderson Police Department at the time was found to have made false statements regarding attempts to contact a magistrate to get a search warrant for the blood of the defendant. This officer then used exigent circumstances as his basis for taking the blood without a warrant. Phone records showed that the calls to the magistrate had never taken place. The officer’s deception during the investigation made the admission of the blood as evidence a major factor in the negotiations in this case. The officer has now been charged with Misconduct in Office and is no longer employed with any law enforcement agency. The collection of evidence in this case was substantially affected by his involvement as lead officer.  

 

Although the actions of one officer made the prosecution of this case difficult, thanks to the efforts of the Anderson Police Department, particularly Captain Kevin Warren, there was sufficient admissible evidence to support the plea which took place today.  

 

“Mrs. White and I have examined every detail of what we each believe would come out or be suppressed at trial,” stated Assistant Solicitor Lauren Price at the plea hearing.  “This has been a very extensive negotiation process between the parties.  I am sickened and saddened that the selfish actions of one individual has affected so many today by crippling the State’s ability to secure what would have been a lengthier sentence in this case.  The plea today is a reflection not of the efforts of Law Enforcement as a whole, or the diligence of the State to prosecute this matter.  This tragedy has been magnified by the damage to the ability to fully prosecute these charges, but in light of the circumstances, this negotiation, and plea today, are the best and right result we can reach.”   

 

Solicitor Chrissy Adams

Tenth Circuit Solicitor