A 3-year-old boy seriously injured Friday night in a crash where a driver was charged with DUI died this morning.
Josiah Jenkins had been on life-support.
His mother was driving him to pick up a pizza to celebrate an award he won at school when their car was struck by an oncoming vehicle that crossed the centerline along North Springs Road.
The child was the grandnephew of Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins, who released a statement saying, "Josiah passed away...with family and God at his side.”
The driver of the other vehicle, 44-year-old Lonnie Gross, is charged with felony DUI, driving under suspension, and not using a seat belt.
According to State Law Enforcement Division records, Gross had already been convicted of DUI four times in the Midlands between 1993 and 2007, and he was out on bond awaiting trial for a DUI arrest last November.
Richland County Coroner Gary Watts says that's especially frustrating.
“That should upset everyone,” Watts told WVOC. “Anybody can make a mistake. We all do. But four times?
“That becomes on the edge of absurdity as to why this individual should have any reason or right to get behind the wheel of a vehicle and drive. It puts you in danger, it puts me in danger, our families...the entire community. And it needs to stop.”
State lawmakers are expected to discuss various legislation this session that would toughen DUI laws.
(Photo courtesy of Columbia Fire Department)