A celebration of life honoring a Bluffton man killed by an alleged drunken driver in a three-car crash last week has been scheduled for Friday at Corner Perk Cafe in Bluffton.
Cullen Mieczkowski, 34, died after the crash around 5 p.m. April 14 on May River Road near the Rose Dhu neighborhood, according to the Bluffton Police Department.
Mieczkowski, who was originally from Willowick, Ohio, had lived in the Lowcountry since 2013. He moved to the area shortly after his parents moved to Sun City and quickly developed a love for Bluffton.
“He really found his stride in life down here,” Nanie Ingram, Mieczkowski’s work partner for the past 2 1/2 years, said on Monday. The pair often started their mornings together as they sold new houses at Hampton Lake for K. Hovnanian Homes, she said.
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According to a GoFundMe page created to assist Mieczkowski’s family with funeral expenses, the celebration of life will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Friday at the restaurant at 1297 May River Road.
Notes and condolence cards may be sent to Mieczkowski’s family at 4 Brayton Court, Bluffton, SC 29902.
The GoFundMe page exceeded its initial goal of $17,500 with donations adding up to nearly $20,000 by Thursday afternoon.
Another unidentified driver was injured in the crash and taken to Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah. That driver was released from the hospital on Monday, according to Bluffton police.
The third driver, Nikolai K. Wheeler, 27, of Bluffton, is charged with two felony DUIs: one resulting in death and the other resulting in great bodily injury. Wheeler was also charged with hit-and-run resulting in death, leaving the scene of a collision resulting in great bodily injury and driving under a suspended license.
In a police report, Wheeler told officers that he drank half a bottle of vodka and took some Xanax bars prior driving.
Witnesses said Wheeler was driving erratically prior to the crash.
A Bluffton police news release said Wheeler hit Mieczkowski’s vehicle from behind as they both traveled eastbound on May River Road. The impact sent Mieczkowski’s vehicle into oncoming traffic, where it struck the unidentified driver’s car.
Wheeler was denied bond by a judge and remains in custody at the Beaufort County Detention Center.