Members of the Anastopoulo Law Firm legal team held a press conference Thursday afternoon announcing a lawsuit filed on behalf of Travis Odell, a 34-year-old rickshaw driver who was hit by a suspected drunk driver early Friday morning and suffered severe injuries.
The driver, 22-year-old Andrew Demetre, slammed into Odell near Meeting and George streets Friday, May 13 around 2:15 a.m., according to reports.
Roy T. Willey IV, a partner and trial lawyer at Anastopoulo Law Firm, shared details about the accident during the press conference at Charleston Courthouse Square on Broad Street. The investigation is still ongoing, but Willey stated that Demetre was driving about 60 miles per hour, twice the legal speed limit, when he rear ended Odell’s rickshaw.
Willey’s team has hired Gerry McDevitt, an accident reconstructionist and former sergeant with the Charleston Police Department to investigate. “We know exactly how this happened, but what we don’t know is who enabled Mr. Demetre to become so intoxicated and get behind the wheel,” said Willey.
Odell had just turned right from George Street onto Meeting Street after stopping at a traffic light when he was struck by Demetre’s BMW just eight seconds later, Willey said. Odell was thrown 80 feet through the air before hitting the ground and rolling an additional 60 feet, Wiley added.
According to the incident report, Demetre did not stop at the scene. His car was found near Market and Meeting streets with damage to the front of the vehicle and airbag deployed.
Demetre was arrested for leaving the scene of an accident and felony DUI resulting in great bodily injury or death after registering a 0.19 blood alcohol content level, according to Charleston County jail records.
The accident resulted in severe injuries to Odell including punctured lungs, broken ribs, clavicle and legs as well as injury to his spinal cord. He is currently on a ventilator in the Intensive Care Unit at MUSC.
“He has had at least nine surgeries over the course of the last four days,” Willey said. “He’s been in surgery for more than 30 hours. They have attempted to bring him out of the medically induced coma, and he’s just not ready to do that yet, but they suspect that he will.
“We are here today having filed this lawsuit because Mr. Demetre is responsible for this. There are other individuals and entities that we will hold responsible. This is just the first step. And it’s important that we get full justice for Travis because even after he leaves MUSC, his fight’s not going to be over.”
Willey went on to ask anyone in the community with information to please submit tips, photos and videos regarding Demetre’s activities on the evening of May 12 and early morning May 13 to pedicabcrash.com.
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