Trail in 2 Felony DUI Charges

Following jury selection, the trial of 32-year-old Pamela Michelle Tackett of Gray Court began just before 3:00 yesterday afternoon in Laurens County’s Hillcrest Square. She is charged with two counts of Felony DUI and with Child Endangerment after her car reportedly ran off I-385 late last March and struck two men working in the median of the freeway.  28-year-old Zacheriah Ivey of Cowpens died a few days later. 23-year-old John Howell of Woodruff survived his serious injuries.

Special Assistant Solicitor for the 8th Circuit, R. Knox McMahon, presented opening arguments for the state. He told the jury that the defendant failed the sobriety test at the scene, but not due to alcohol consumption, saying she was found to be on five different prescription medicines which had warning labels on them saying not to drive or operate machinery. He said she also had traces of marijuana in her system.

Defense Attorney David Stoddard of Anderson began his opening statement telling the jury that Tackett suffers from a mental illness, similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and that a toxicologist indicates her medication may have not been at a level that could impair her. Stoddard said Ms. Tackett took marijuana for migraines the night before and the level in her system at time of the wreck was minimal.

First witness was a Chicago resident who told of seeing the defendant driving erratically, noting he lost sight of her after she passed their vehicle. Soon after, he said they came upon the scene of the wreck. He said, “I saw a man fly up in the air, I told my son to call 911, then we got right out of the car to check the victims.” A Simpsonville resident testified she saw the accident and feared for the life of the victim who later died. She told of looking into the defendant’s car and seeing the little girl in the back seat, saying she seemed to be in shock. “She never said a word, never shed a tear, nothing.” This witness said she said she thought it odd the defendant and little girl had no interaction.

A third witness indicated she was on her way to a meeting in Anderson when she witnessed the wreck. She said she had observed the defendant in her rear-view mirror, “going very fast and swerving from lane to lane.” She said she was scared, so she pulled over to let the defendant pass. On approaching the wreck scene, she stopped to see if she could help. She told the jury, “I realized that one man could not be helped and then I saw another man who looked like his legs were crushed and was screaming.”

The trail of Pamela Tackett was to resume at 9:45 this morning with Judge Don Hocker presiding.