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Drunk driver who severely hurt Lexington deputy sentenced to lengthy prison term

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The drunk driver who demolished the vehicle of a Lexington County deputy and injured him so severely that it ended his career was sentenced Tuesday after pleading guilty to driving under the influence and causing great bodily harm.

Circuit Court Judge R. Ferrell Cothran, Jr. sentenced 38-year-old Michael Jordan Nichols, who used to live in Irmo, to eight years in prison followed by five years of probation.

In a statement, 11th Circuit Assistant Solicitor Todd Wagoner, who prosecuted the case, said, “While we appreciate that Mr. Nichols accepted responsibility for his actions, we can only hope this tragic event will convince others to be responsible by choosing not to drive while impaired. There are many options available, especially during the holiday season, such as Uber, Lyft, taxi services and designated drivers.”

On June 8, 2019, Nichols was driving his Chevy Silverado in the wrong lane and speeding on South Lake Drive near Red Bank, prosecutors said. Then-Lexington Deputy Roy Hall was heading to the sheriff’s department headquarters to start a shift. Nichols slammed head first into Hall’s police SUV, destroying the front end and cab. Nichols’ truck was also destroyed, pictures showed.

The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department SUV of former Deputy Roy Hall was demolished in a wreck.

The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department SUV of former Deputy Roy Hall was demolished in a wreck.

It took emergency crews almost 30 minutes to extract Hall from his SUV, prosecutors said. Nichols was tested and had a blood alcohol level of 0.19, “indicating significant impairment.”

Hall suffered fractures to his pelvis and a dislocated femur that required surgeries.

At the sentencing hearing, Hall and his wife addressed the judge and described how their lives and the lives of their four children were changed forever. Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon told the judge that the wreck ended Hall’s career, resulting in a tremendous loss to the sheriff’s department.

Serve & Connect, a police and community support organization, started a fundraiser for Hall after the wreck.

Nichols is imprisoned at Kirkland Correctional Institution off Broad River Road in Columbia. Before the wreck, Nichols had been convicted of assault twice, prosecutors said.

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