Drunk driver who crashed into construction worker sentenced to 15 years in prison

Daniel Hamrick, 36, of Mount Pleasant was convicted of felony DUI and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

A drunk driver who crashed into a construction worker in Mount Pleasant in 2011 was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Friday in a Charleston courtroom.

Daniel Hamrick, 36, of Mount Pleasant, was convicted of felony DUI after a week-long trial. Hamrick was convicted of crashing his car into a construction worker on Nov. 14, 2011, on U.S. Highway 17 southbound near Park West, according to authorities.

The wreck occurred at 3:24 a.m. near George Browder Boulevard. Hamrick entered a construction zone where workers were paving and struck one of the workers, Ahmed Garland, officials said. The impact forced Garland into the asphalt-spreading machinery and he was critically injured.

Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said Circuit Judge Deadra Jefferson sentenced Hamrick to the maximum sentence allowed for the charge.

“Hamrick was a bartender who was responsible for stopping patrons from driving under the influence. More than most, he understood those dangers. We are grateful that Judge Jefferson sentenced him to the max,” she said.

The wreck occurred while Hamrick was working as a manager at the Dog and Duck Restaurant at the Park West shopping center in Mount Pleasant, according to Culver Kidd, one of the assistant solicitors who prosecuted the case.

Garland, now 45, suffered several facial and skull fractures and a traumatic brain injury, which has left him with very limited brain function, prosecutors said. Garland is unable to walk, talk or complete basic human functions, according to prosecutors.

Hamrick’s blood alcohol content was about twice the legal limit, authorities said.

“There are no winners in a case like this. I can only hope that others will see the very real dangers of drinking and driving and understand the consequences of their actions before more innocent lives are ruined,” said Kidd.

A lawsuit was filed by Garland’s family against Hamrick. A settlement was reached in January in which the family is expected to receive $100,000 from Hamrick’s insurance coverage. They also are set to receive $4 million from Dog and Duck’s insurance coverage, according to Mullins McLeod, Garland’s family attorney.

Garland has incurred more than $1.4 million in medical expenses, and more are expected, according to the suit’s complaint.

“The purpose of the civil case was to hold Mr. Hamrick and his employer accountable,” McLeod said.

Garland’s family accused Dog and Duck and Hamrick of being liable for the injuries, according to the complaint.

“While denying all liability for the accident, the defendants have offered to settle Garland’s claim for $4,100,000, which represents the limits of insurance coverage available for the claim,” the order approving the settlement stated.

Representatives with Dog and Duck could not be reached.

Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or www.twitter.com/ncaula.