Post & Courier
MONCKS CORNER, S.C. — The woman accused of being intoxicated when she struck two Goose Creek firefighters with her car last year will not go to jail.
Jessica Lanier, 26, of Goose Creek stood before a judge Tuesday and pleaded no contest to a charge of driving under the influence. She had been charged with a more severe felony count, but prosecutors said the reduced charge was more appropriate for the offense.
A judge fined her $997, suspended her license for six months and ordered her to take part in an alcohol intervention program.
The Oct. 19, 2011, incident occurred while Goose Creek Fire Capt. Michael Althoff, 46, and firefighter Christopher Harrison, 32, were working a wreck on U.S. Highway 176, near the Walmart store.
Shortly after midnight, Lanier's car struck the two firefighters while heading west on the road, according to S.C. Highway Patrol Cpl. Bob Beres.
The impact broke Harrison's left ankle, according to a Goose Creek police report. Althoff tore a ligament in one of his knees, and the injury required extensive rehabilitation. He was unable to return to duty until February.
After the incident, Lanier told police she drank three beers in three hours that night, the police incident report stated.
Authorities initially charged Lanier with driving under the influence. Then, in January, state troopers upgraded the charge to felony DUI with great bodily injury. In September, however, the 9th Circuit Solicitor's Office knocked the charge back down to a DUI.
"In this case there was some injury to victim, but it didn't amount to statutory definition of great bodily injury. Without that, it is not a felony DUI and the appropriate charge was DUI," Assistant Solicitor Bryan Alfaro said.
Harrison and Althoff were at the hearing but didn't say anything in court. After the proceeding, Althoff would only say he believes "justice has been served."
Lanier and her attorney had no comment following the hearing.
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