A 35-year-old motorcyclist was convicted Tuesday night of felony driving under the influence in connection with a wreck that nearly killed his passenger two years ago in North Charleston.
Circuit Court Judge Markley Dennis sentenced Todd Coffield of Elms Plantation Boulevard to six years in prison.
Coffield, who also was hurt in the crash, did not have a previous arrest history. Attorney Michael Coleman represented him during a two-day jury trial in downtown Charleston.
Early on Aug. 7, 2010, Coffield let a female friend ride on the back of his motorcycle to a Waffle House in North Charleston, according to a statement from Solicitor Scarlett Wilson.
The last thing the woman remembers about the incident is ducking down and clutching Coffield as he sped down Elms Plantation Boulevard, Wilson said. Coffield’s apartment was on the street.
A curve was too sharp for Coffield’s motorcycle, which barreled 250 yards off the road, through a wooden sign and two sets of bushes and into a brick wall, according to Wilson’s statement.
The woman was in a coma for more than a month. She suffered a lacerated spleen and liver and “fractured nearly every bone in her body,” including ones in her neck, Wilson said.
Doctors testified that the woman will suffer “lasting paralysis” in her arm and will need medical treatment for the rest of her life, but that she was lucky to be alive, Wilson said.
“This is a sad case for everyone involved,” Assistant Solicitor Spencer Compton said. “We hope that it serves as a warning to anyone thinking about drinking and driving.”
Assistant Solicitor Chad Simpson helped Compton in the prosecution.