A Seneca woman is out of bail on bond and funeral arrangements for her two children are set for this weekend, WSPA reported January 3.
According to Oconee County Detention Center, Melissa Patton has been released on $50,000 bond after being charged with two counts of felony DUI resulting in death and one count of DUS. This Examiner article covered the tragedy that took the lives of two sisters early Wednesday morning.
A vigil was held Wednesday night at Utica Baptist Church, which is also the site of the fatal accident. Funeral services for one-year-old Taniya Gambrell and four-year-old Saryia Patton-Dean will be held January 5 at 2p.m. at the church.
In an interview with WSPA, Patton's cousin Laquash Frasier stated
"No one is going to feel how she (Melissa Patton) feels, she was there with them."
This is a tragedy that could have been avoided. Driving while intoxicated commercials are especially hard-hitting during the holiday season, as well as the commercial with the "know it all parents" that drives home the point that most parents aren't aware of the proper child support system for their children.
Felony DUI resulting in death carries a strong punishment that includes
*a mandatory fine of not less than $10,100 nor more than $25,100
*mandatory imprisonment for not less than 1 year nor more than 25 years
*driver's license suspension during the term of imprisonment plus 3 years
Not only does Patton have to deal with the loss of her two children, her decision to drink and drive will most likely end in a very long prison sentence.
Please keep the family in your thoughts this holiday season.