DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - An 18-year-old Summerville man was sentenced to four years in prison for a car accident that killed a 21-year-old woman.
Officials with the 1st Circuit Solicitor's Office say Cullen Dupree pleaded guilty on Monday to reckless homicide and leaving the scene of an accident with death.
Dupree was given four years in prison and four years probation with eight years suspended.
According to prosecutors, Dupree was responsible for a car accident last year that killed Amanda Carey of Summerville, and initially lied to police about his involvement.
The incident happened on Highway 17A in Dorchester County where authorities say several vehicles were traveling from Walterboro to Summerville, returning from an event, the mud run, that had taken place that evening in Walterboro.
Dupree, who was a 17-year-old high school student at the time, was driving his car with three other juveniles.
Prosecutors say multiple witnesses reported that Dupree was driving slow, weaving in his lane and hitting his brakes causing vehicles behind him to hit their brakes to avoid a collision.
At one point, several vehicles passed Dupree's car in an attempt to distance themselves from his driving. According to authorities, Dupree then sped past those vehicles, and while doing so, he and the passengers in his car made hand gestures towards the vehicles that passed them.
When Dupree regained the lead, prosecutors say he slammed on his brakes causing the vehicles behind him to brake as well.
Court records state Dupree also stopped a pickup truck from passing him by blocking the oncoming lane as the truck attempted to pass his vehicle.
Authorities say when a Jeep, which Amanda Carey was riding in, attempted to pass Dupree's car, Dupree came over into the oncoming lane in an effort to block the Jeep.
According to passengers in Dupree's car, Dupree said,"They are not going to pass me again."
Prosecutors say as Dupree's car came further into the oncoming lane, the Jeep drove partially off the side of the road in an effort to avoid a collision. Authorities say at one point, Dupree's car made contact with the Jeep's right rear tire causing the driver of the Jeep to lose control of his vehicle which spun out of control in front of Dupree's car and slid across the roadway across both lanes of traffic.
The Jeep then slid to the far right side of the road and began to flip; eyewitnesses reported seeing the driver and Carey get ejected from the Jeep.
According to court records, after striking the Jeep and seeing it spin out of control and flip, Dupree ignored pleas from his female passengers to stop and see if the occupants of the Jeep were okay.
Investigators say Dupree and a male passenger told the female juveniles that the occupants of the Jeep "were ok and the worst they could have gotten was whiplash." Dupree then proceeded to continue to drive and leave the scene.
Vehicles that were trailing behind Dupree immediately stopped and raced to the aid of the occupants of the Jeep. One minute after the collision, an off-duty Summerville police officer came upon the scene and alerted emergency crews of the situation.
Another police officer, this time from North Charleston, was on his way home when he came upon the scene and began to search for Carey; the driver had already been located when he arrived.
The NCPD officer found Carey submerged face down in a ditch of water, pulled her out and began CPR on her.
When EMS arrived, emergency officials say Carey suffered injuries "incompatible with life." The driver of the Jeep was found conscious in the wood line and was airlifted to MUSC for treatment.
Prosecutors say Dupree drove his car to Legend Oaks, and at some point after seeing the damage to his vehicle, decided to return to the scene. According to court records, Dupree and his male passenger decided to leave the girls at home and return on their own.
Authorties say before returning, Dupree and the male passenger concocted a story claiming they only drove about a mile up to the road and called one of their parents to come and get the girls.
On the way back to the collision, Dupree called 911 to report the incident and told operators that he was unaware that the Jeep had even made contact with his vehicle, and lied about where he went after the collision, according to prosecutors.
Court records state Dupree arrived back at the scene 15 minutes after the incident occurred.
Dupree and the male juvenile told police they were trying to pass a vehicle in front of them when the Jeep "came out of nowhere" and drove off the road trying to pass them. Prosecutors say both said the Jeep turned too sharply in front of them and flipped on its own.
According to court records, Dupree and the male juvenile said they had no idea the Jeep even made contact with them until they stopped further on down the road; both claimed that the male juvenile's father met them there and took the girls home.
Prosecutors say one of the female passengers said Dupree and the male juvenile were responsible for concocting the story and relayed the story to the girls prior to returning to the scene. When police spoke to the girls, authorities say the female juveniles told the same story that Dupree and the male juvenile told police.
Investigators say based on all other interviews law enforcement conducted, the story Dupree and his passengers were telling was not matching up to all other statements from other witnesses and evidence at the scene.
Court records state that all three passengers in Dupree's car admitted to fabricating the story of where they went after the collision, and admitted that Dupree was intentionally brake checking and driving "bad" prior to the collision and only decided to return to the scene after seeing the damage to his car.
Several witnesses also reported that Dupree was upset about an incident that happened prior to leaving the mud run.
Prosecutors say the driver of the Jeep was initially charged with DUI based on the fact there were beer cans near the wrecked Jeep, and admitting to drinking earlier in the evening.
According to authorities, the driver provided a voluntary blood sample and the toxicology report showed no alcohol or drugs in his system, and the DUI charge was dismissed.