CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A lawsuit was filed Thursday after a pedicab driver in downtown Charleston was seriously injured during a crash with who police said was an intoxicated driver.
Family members of Travis Odell, and their lawyers, held a press conference outside a Charleston County courthouse on Thursday afternoon to discuss the May 13th crash and ask for any information from the public.
The Charleston Police Department said the pedicab, driven by Odell, was traveling near Meeting and George Streets when it was struck from behind around 2:15 a.m.
The driver of that vehicle, 22-year-old Andrew Demetre, fled the scene after crashing into Odell’s rickshaw but was apprehended by police not far away when his car became disabled. He was charged with felony DUI resulting in great bodily injury or death and hit and run with death or injury.
“An accident reconstructionist hired by Anastopoulo Law Firm has determined that Demetre was traveling grossly in excess of the speed limit at the time of impact, throwing Travis approximately 150 feet down Meeting Street,” said Odell’s attorneys.
They said Odell was entered into a medically induced coma at the Medical University of South Carolina where he suffers from multiple serious injuries including two broken legs, two collapsed lungs, a comminuted forearm, broken ribs, fractured mandible, fractured pelvis, dislocated hip, and severe lacerations covering his body.
“This is an important case for an important member of our community. We will not rest until full justice is rendered for Travis and his family” said Roy T. Willey, IV, partner and trial lawyer at Anastopoulo Law Firm.
Friends and family gathered for Thursday’s press conference to talk about Odell and his impact on their lives. “He has a very boisterous laugh,” said Kala Kannisto, a friend. “He is the type of person that you meet one time, and you remember him.”
“He has a triple major in chemistry and biochemistry and biology from the College of Charleston,” said friend Georgia Schrubbe. “We actually met in the Honors College at the College of Charleston, one of the smartest people that I know.”
Attorney Roy Willey said the lawsuit was initially filed against Demetre but they anticipate others will be added.
“Today we filed a lawsuit against Andrew Demetre who is the first, but we suspect not the only individual or entity responsible for inflicting unimaginable pain,” he said. “Unimaginable pain on Travis who is currently on a ventilator in ICU at MUSC, unimaginable pain on his family and friends and unimaginable pain on this community.”
The family’s attorney says they believe at least three local establishments may have contributed to this situation. They published a website, pedicabcrash.com where they are asking for anyone who might know more about where Demetre was prior to the accident to submit information.
“It’s hard. Thank everybody for the prayers. God‘s brought him so far and hope he brings him the rest of the way. Praise be to God,” said Odell’s father during the press conference.
A GoFundMe, organized by Will Buck, was established to help with medical expenses. Click here to view that page.
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