Richland County Councilman Kelvin Washington has been charged with felony driving under the influence in connection with an early Saturday night crash in Lower Richland.
According to the S.C. Highway Patrol, Washington struck a vehicle in front of him when that vehicle slowed down on Bluff Road near Martin Luther King Boulevard in Hopkins. Both vehicles were traveling east, the patrol said. The 22-year-old driver of the other vehicle was taken to a local hospital with serious injuries, and another passenger, along with Washington, were transported with minor injuries, according to the patrol.
Washington declined to speak during a Sunday hearing at the Richland County jail, where he faced a charge of felony DUI resulting in serious injury. But he told the judge when asked that he had an attorney, though one was not with him at the hearing. The attorney’s name was not known late Sunday.
During the hearing, a trooper said both victims from the other car were still in the hospital, one in the intensive care unit with severe bleeding in the pelvic area.
Victims’ family members were at Sunday’s hearing but did not speak.
Washington’s bond was set at $25,000, and he was required to post 10 percent for release.
Washington left the jail about an hour after the end of the hearing, but declined comment.
Fellow Richland County Councilman Norman Jackson, who along with Washington represents a portion of Lower Richland, said Sunday he was surprised to hear about the charge.
“I’m shocked,” Jackson said. “I hope he’s OK, and I hope the the other folks are OK also. I’m praying for everyone.”
Council Chair Torrey Rush released a statement late Sunday afternoon on behalf of council, noting the charge against Washington, adding: “This body and its individual members take this very seriously. Our collective responsibility to the public is compromised when such an event like this occurs. In the coming days we will continue to monitor this situation and rely on the law enforcement agencies investigating this matter.”
Washington had another recent brush with the law, arrested in January and charged with failing to file state income taxes. He pled guilty Feb. 10 to the misdemeanor charges and was ordered to pay a $2,500 fine and $1,000 in court costs, and was given probation in lieu of jail time, with the probation to be vacated once the $2,500 was paid. Washington also has paid the $7,200 of his back taxes that were due for the tax years 2012, 2013 and 2014. .