Bill Miller stood a dozen feet from the woman who killed his wife in a fatal wreck minutes after leaving a methadone clinic.
Miller’s two daughters stood at his side dressed in all black, one holding a tissue in her hand, as he told the court about the impact of the death of Joan Banks-Miller.
“It’s just a devastating loss,” Miller said, later adding, “We just want justice to be done today.”
The driver, Deborah Bullock, who caused the wreck will now spend six years in prison after she pleaded guilty to reckless homicide. Bullock entered her plea during a Thursday hearing in Horry County Circuit Court.
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Bullock won’t report to jail until Sept. 3 as Judge Steven John granted her a delay because one of her relatives is in hospice care.
Assistant Solicitor O’Bryan Martin said on April 5, 2017, Myrtle Beach police responded Joe White Avenue for a wreck. Bullock drove over the center line, hitting a vehicle where Banks-Miller was a passenger. Banks-Miller was pronounced dead at the scene.
Bullock left the Center of Hope Methadone clinic just before the wreck, Martin said.
Martin said Bullock tested positive for cocaine and methadone.
The Banks-Miller family filed a civil suit earlier this year against the Center of Hope for wrongful death. The suit states that Bullock visited the clinic at about 10:30 a.m. and received 100 mg of methadone. She left at a half-hour later and the wreck occurred within minutes.
Defense attorney Brad Richardson noted his client was willing to take responsibility and any statements made on her behalf weren’t to diminish the suffering of the Banks-Miller family. He said his client has a limited criminal history and worked to help the victims.
“We are asking for any mercy the court chooses to give,” Richardson said.
John called the case a tragedy and said he couldn’t provide justice no matter the sentence.