A Summerville driver involved in a fatal traffic accident five years ago has now been ordered to pay the victim’s family $3.5 million.
A jury ruled against 42-year-old Chad Kessing on Tuesday. Investigators said Kessing crossed the center line on Highway 17-A and crashed head-on into an SUV driven by Wanda Holland on May 12, 2008. She died on impact.
Attorneys representing Holland’s estate argued that Kessing should not have been on the roads by himself that day because of his tendency to suffer seizures. Kessing’s driver’s license had been revoked twice and he had a beginner’s permit at the time of the crash— but no one else in the car, which the permit requires.
“He admitted that he knew that he was unsafe to be on the road,” attorney Julie Moore of the McLeod Law Group told South Carolina Radio Network. “He admitted he didn’t have a proper driver’s license at the time. He admitted that he had a history of seizures which had previously caused two accidents. Then he admitted… driving anyway.”
The jury awarded $500,000 for actual damages and $3 million in punitive damages. Moore says the case and the verdict should serve as a cautionary tale for all drivers.
Kessing’s permit has been revoked again since the collision. His attorney, Margaret Urbanic, could not be reached Wednesday.
Sheree Bernardi of Charleston affiliate WTMA contributed to this report