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Driver left methadone clinic minutes before fatal Myrtle Beach crash, suit states

One dead, two injured from wreck on Joe White Avenue

One person is dead Wednesday after a two-vehicle accident near 1250 Joe White Avenue. Two others were injured in the accident and were taken to Grand Strand Regional Medical Center, according to Lt. Jonathan Evans with the Myrtle Beach Fire Depart
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One person is dead Wednesday after a two-vehicle accident near 1250 Joe White Avenue. Two others were injured in the accident and were taken to Grand Strand Regional Medical Center, according to Lt. Jonathan Evans with the Myrtle Beach Fire Depart

A woman left a Myrtle Beach methadone clinic minutes before causing a fatal wreck on Mr. Joe White Avenue, a wrongful death lawsuit by the victim's family alleges.

The wreck happened on April 5, 2017 after Deborah Bullock left the Center of Hope of Myrtle Beach at 11:03 a.m., according to the filing. The center's webpage states that the facility closes at 11 a.m. on weekdays.

Bullock arrived at the facility at 10:30 a.m. and was given 100 mg of methadone after huffing dust cleaner earlier in the day, according to the suit.

Bullock left the center and drove on Mr. Joe White Avenue where she crossed the center line and collided with another vehicle that Joan Cooleen Banks-Miller was riding in, the filing states. Banks-Miller was pronounced dead at the scene.

Billy Miller, the deceased woman's husband and who was driving, went to the hospital with injuries including fractures, chest trauma and a pulmonary contusion. Miller filed the suit in Horry County court on Wednesday.

Police at the scene spoke to Bullock and noticed she was swaying on her feet, lethargic and had constricted pupils, the filing states.

She went to the hospital and told an officer she had no memory of the collision, according to the suit.

Police charged Bullock with DUI resulting in death and her case remains active. She is free on bond.

The suit states that the Center of Hope of Myrtle Beach, which is the only named defendant, was neglect and its actions caused Banks-Miller's death.

The filing lists several ways the center was negligent, including:

  • Failing to test Bullock to see if she was under the influence of any other substance before providing methadone.
  • Providing an unsafe dose.
  • Failing to take steps to detox or bring down her dosage until she abstained from illicit drug use.
  • The center should have known Bullock drove herself while impaired to the center.
  • Failing to monitor Bullock for adverse effects after using methadone.
  • Failing to follow state law and Department of Health and Environmental Control regulations related to substance abuse treatment.

The suit argues that the Center of Hope of Myrtle Beach failed to use reasonable care in its treatment and that providing methadone to an illicit drug user "could create unreasonably dangerous, but entirely preventable conditions, likely to cause serious harm to motorists."

The suit asks for an unspecified amount of damages.

Officials from the Center of Hope of Myrtle Beach did not immediately return calls about their practices for treating patients.

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