Driver blames brakes for fatal crash

Posted on May 20, 2010
Charles McDonald, who caused a wreck killing two motorcyclists who had come to Myrtle Beach for Bike Week, blames faulty brakes for the accident. McDonald rear-ended two motorcyclists with his SUV, pushing them into the vehicle in front of them on May 11 on U.S. Highway 17 between Myrtle Beach and Charleston.

The two bikers were stopped at a stoplight when the accident occurred. Witnesses say they were concerned when they saw that McDonald's Ford Explorer was not slowing down while he approached the red light. McDonald claims he was unable to stop his vehicle.

McDonald had recently been involved in another rear-end collision and had taken his car to the shop for brake problems not long before the accident. Police say McDonald's Explorer was inspected by a certified mechanic following the May 11 crash and the brakes appeared to be in working order.

Police announced yesterday that McDonald would face no criminal charges in the wreck that caused the deaths of James Doucette, 80, and his son-in-law James Hines, 50. McDonald would instead receive a traffic violation for driving too fast for conditions.

The police attest that they uncovered no evidence in their thorough investigation that McDonald should be issued heavier charges. There was no reason to believe that alcohol, drugs or cell phone use had played a factor in the crash. The case appears to fall in the category of driver negligence, which could result in a civil lawsuit for personal injury or even wrongful death.