CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A 20-year-old Mount Pleasant man was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the death of a 72-year-old woman.
Samuel McCauley had pleaded guilty last May to reckless homicide and felony DUI for the July 24, 2011 incident that killed 72-year-old Eleanor Caperton.
A judge on Friday sentenced McCauley to 15 years for the felony DUI charge and ten years for the reckless homicide charge, which will run concurrently. He was also given $25,000 in fines.
On Friday morning during the sentencing hearing, McCauley told the judge that he wished it was he who died that night and not Caperton. Prosecutors in the case said McCauley intended to get drunk and had to be held accountable for his actions.
McCauley's counselor said her client was ready to accept the consequences for his actions but expressed concern over a long prison term which she said could have a negative impact on the 20-year-old man.
Caperton's sister also spoke at the hearing saying that she is haunted every day by her sister's death and called for the maximum sentence for McCauley. McCauley's lawyer, Capers Barr, said his client drank so much that he lost the ability to make conscious decisions, and called the incident a tragedy in the first degree.
Prosecutors revealed McCauley had been drinking heavily on July 24 during a party on a boat at a marina before the deadly accident. McCauleys blood alcohol level was .209 at the time of the accident, according to the judge at Friday's hearing.
Investigators say McCauley's car was going the wrong way on I-26 early near downtown Charleston just after midnight.
According to police, McCauley's Nissan Maxima then crashed into a Honda Civic driven by 72-year-old Eleanor Caperton. According to prosecutors, McCauley was traveling 60 mph in a 35 mph zone at the time of the impact.
Both drivers were transported to the Medical University of South Carolina for multiple injuries. Police say Caperton, of Ladson, died as a result of her injuries at the hospital.
Reporter Harve Jacobs will be in the courtroom for the hearing. Follow him on Twitter @policereporter for live updates.