Gregory E. Rupley hit and killed a bicyclist with the AT&T van he was driving across the James Island Connector July 5, and his punishment was a $113 fine for improper lane usage. Now the widow of MUSC anesthesiologist Dr. Mitchell Hollon, the bicyclist who died in the wreck, is considering filing a lawsuit against Rupley and AT&T.
Patty Hollon, whose husband's body was thrown over a road barrier and into the marsh below, has been in contact with Charleston lawyer Gedney Howe about a suit that Howe says will "most probably" be filed by the end of the year.
"The lawsuit is a civil case over the loss to this lady and her child of her husband," Howe says. "He's the breadwinner for the household, and he's dead and gone and there are no more paychecks coming into the household."
While Rupley can no longer be charged as a criminal for the collision, other drivers in similar circumstances have faced much stronger penalties. Driver Daniel Johnson hit four cyclists with his SUV in Beech Island, S.C., on Oct. 1, 2010, and one of the victims, Dr. Matthew Burke, spent 128 days in a coma before dying. Johnson pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter on Oct. 17, 2011, in front of an Aiken Circuit Court judge. He was sentenced to three months in jail followed by five years' probation.