A trucker accused of killing a medical student in a crunch of twisted metal just months before her graduation has been arrested again, this time on drunken-driving charges.
Lauren Baccari, 27, a student at the Medical University of South Carolina, was killed Jan. 28 while sitting in traffic on Interstate 526. A truck driven by Arnold Bradford Williams, 35, of Salters, came up behind her and crushed her inside her silver 2005 Acura.
North Charleston police said Williams was going too fast for conditions and charged him with reckless homicide.
He was released from the Charleston County jail on $100,000 bail.
Williams was arrested again April 6 in Conyers, Ga., after several witnesses said his 2006 Freightliner hauling 26 tons of stone was weaving in and out of traffic on I-20, according to a Georgia state police report. A portable breath test showed a blood-alcohol level of 0.222, according to the report, almost three times the legal limit.
North Charleston police originally charged Williams with felony DUI after a witness said he threw a pack of beer over a guardrail after the wreck. The charge was changed to reckless homicide after a review of the evidence and a consultation with the 9th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, according to the incident report.
The solicitor’s office could not recommend a more serious charge because police said Williams passed field-sobriety and toxicology tests after the wreck, Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said.
At Williams’ bond hearing after the North Charleston wreck, Magistrate Linda Lombard noted that Williams had accumulated traffic tickets. He has been cited at least once for having an open container of beer and once for improper passing, court records show. He also has at least 10 tickets for failing to wear a seat belt.
“There’s a history of speeding,” Lombard said before setting bail. “It’s sad it has to end this way.”
The Solicitor’s Office is not involved in setting bail, Wilson said. The arresting officer in Georgia reported a fruity alcohol smell on Williams’ breath. The officer said he found an empty can of Mike’s Hard Lemonade in a storage compartment over the visor.
While Williams was being taken to the Rockdale County jail, he asked how long he might stay in jail because he was due in court at the end of the month on a reckless homicide charge, according to the report.
Williams remains in the Rockdale County jail on charges of driving under the influence and open container. A motion has been filed to revoke his bond, possibly at a Friday hearing, Wilson said. Revoking his bond would hold him in the Georgia jail after he finishes that sentence to reduce the risk of flight, Wilson said.
Baccari was sitting in traffic on I-526 east near Rivers Avenue the morning of the fatal wreck. Traffic was congested because of a fuel spill near Virginia Avenue that morning. Williams came up from the rear and crushed her car, according to the incident report. Three other cars and another truck also were caught in the wreck.
Baccari planned to practice family medicine. A family member has been invited to accept her degree on her behalf during graduation ceremonies next month, and a seat will be draped in her honor at the Medical Student Oath Ceremony, according to Etta Pisano, dean of the college of medicine.
The college also set up a fund in her honor to support students interested in family medicine.
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