Man sentenced to 22 years for 2019 DUI crash that killed Myrtle Beach woman

Grand Strand Crime

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — A man was sentenced Thursday to 22 years in prison for a DUI crash that killed a Myrtle Beach woman in 2019, according to 15th Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson.

Claybon Atwater will not have the possibility of parole, according to Richardson. His charges were felony DUI resulting in death and felony DUI resulting in great bodily injury.

Donna Schnell was killed in the crash on Highway 17 in North Myrtle Beach. Her husband was sent to the hospital with multiple broken bones for emergency surgery. Schnell was a mother, a nurse at a local hospital, and an animal lover.

Witnesses told police Atwater failed to yield the right of way to the Yamaha trike motorcycle, according to the police report. Atwater was driving a blue Ford mercury 4-door car, police said.

Multiple witnesses also told police a man was driving but he switched seats with a female passenger after the accident, according to the report. Atwater initially told police he was not driving, but the passenger later told police he was.

Police said while talking with Atwater, they smelled alcohol on him, noticed he was slurring his speech and was unsteady on his feet. Atwater admitted he had been drinking before he went to the beach that day, police reported. He tested at 0.11, police said.

Atwater had a suspended license for a previous DUI, according to the report. A 12-year-old passenger also was in the car.

Atwater was arrested in January for a shooting in North Carolina, according to WGHP.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories