Man charged with DUI in accident that killed Myrtle Beach woman on motorcycle

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NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – A man police say had a blood alcohol level of 0.11 has been charged with two counts of felony DUI after an accident that killed a Myrtle Beach woman on a motorcycle.

Claybon Atwater, 35, of Burlington, NC, has been charged with two counts of felony DUI causing great bodily harm, child endangerment, and driving with a suspended license.

A Myrtle Beach woman, Donna Schnell, 54, was killed in the accident on Saturday night 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 released on Monday from the J. Reuben Long Detention Center on a $58,647.50 bond. 

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