Skip to Content

Man is Charged With Felony DUI After Accident in Richland County Leaves 3-year-old On Ventilator


Few accidents we see as South Carolina auto accident attorneys, are as tragic as those involving children. Sadly, a 3-year-old child was critically injured in a recent accident near Columbia that investigators say was caused by a drunk driver.

The State reported Josiah Jenkins was riding in a car driven by his mother Latoya Jenkins. They had picked up a pizza to celebrate the 3-year-old being mentioned in a newsletter at Lewis Greenville Elementary School. While they were on North Springs Road in Northeast Richland County, a car allegedly veered into Jenkins' path, causing a crash.

Josiah Jenkins, the grand-nephew of Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins, sustained severe injuries in the accident, according to media reports. The 3-year-old is currently hospitalized with severe head injuries and is breathing with the help of a ventilator, Aubrey Jenkins said.

Police said the man who caused the accident, Lonnie Gross III, 44, was charged with felony DUI. He is being held without bond in the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center, according to jail records. Gross was charged with felony driving under the influence of alcohol, driving under suspension and a seat belt violation in connection with the crash on March 7, 2014

The State reported Gross has four previous DUI convictions and was awaiting trial in a fifth case.The newspaper reported he was out on bond awaiting trial in a November 2013 DUI arrest at the time of the recent accident.

"This is so tragic – that our state is not willing to stop people from acting this way so many times," Laura Hudson, executive director of the S.C. Criminal Victims Council, said told The State. "It's absurd."

This tragic case once again highlights South Carolina's DUI laws. Recently the sheriff of Kershaw County claimed the DUI laws were too lax after a driver was booked reaching speeds of 107 mph. He was charged with DUI (3 rd offense).

As well as criminal sanctions, the driver involved in the Josiah Jenkins case could face a civil lawsuit for the injuries sustained by Josiah Jenkins. Head injuries are among the most serious we see as Columbia personal injury attorneys. You may need long-term care for the rest of your life if you suffer a brain injury. Family members were reported to be at Josiah's hospital bedside awaiting more tests, but so far his condition has not improved.

In some cases, South Carolina DUI victims are awarded punitive damages in their legal claims following a drunk driving accident. Punitive damages are intended as additional compensation, above and beyond what DUI victims are already due from their case. These are intended to be punishment to the defendant and to deter similar behavior in the future.

If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury in South Carolina in an accident that was the fault of another person, we want to help you. Call Masella Law at 803.748.9990.

Share To: