Driver plows into Hilton Head business, bicyclist

info@islandpacket.comJuly 19, 2013 

A suspected drunken driver plowed into the front of a Hilton Head Island business Thursday night, and later struck a bicyclist as he tried to flee, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies were called at about 11:30 p.m. to an alarm at Willy Tees, 130 Mathews Drive. The store sells custom-printed T-Shirts and embroidery. They found the front-door of the business smashed. Damage is estimated at $5,000.

Video surveillance from the business showed a silver or tan vehicle drive over a small curb in the store's parking lot, according to an incident report. It appeared the driver tried to turn the vehicle around, but suddenly pressed on the gas pedal, sending it through Willy Tees front glass door.

A short time later, deputies were called to the intersection of Dillon and Wiley roads on a report of man on a bike hit by a tan sedan with front end damage consistent with the vehicle that plowed into the business.

The 39-year-old Hilton Head resident said he was riding down the bike path on Dillon Road toward The Spa on Beach City Road when a car left the road and hit him head-on before speeding away.

The cyclist suffered a deep cut on his hip and was taken by ambulance to Hilton Head Hospital, according to the report.

Soon afterward, deputies stopped a car at 119 Mathews Drive that matched the description of the one captured on video at Willy Tees.

The driver, a 24-year-old Hilton Head man, was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of an accident causing injury and not having a valid driver's license.

The driver, who denied he was involved in either incident, had "a strong odor of alcoholic beverages on his breath" and had trouble remembering where he was coming from, according to the report.

A piece of glass collected from scene where the bicyclist was hit matched the size and "fit perfectly" with broken glass missing from the rear-view mirror of the driver's car, the report states.

Deputies also noticed green paint of the front of the car that matched the bicycle of the man who was stuck. There also was blood on the hood of the car and pieces of black track pants similar those worn by bicyclist stuck in the car's windshield, according to the report.

The driver was being held for prosecution at the Beaufort County Detention Center Friday and was sentenced on several bench warrants from the S.C. Highway Patrol, according to online jail records.

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