SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - A driver involved in the fatal head-on collision that claimed the life of WTOC's own, Don Logana, has been charged with felony DUI.
Savannah-Chatham Metro Police took Cleveland Antwan Coleman, 31, of Savannah, into custody Tuesday night after his release from Memorial University Medical Center.
Coleman is facing charges in South Carolina related to the fatal collision that occurred in the early morning hours of Sunday, Nov. 20 on US-17 near the Georgia-South Carolina state line.
Don was riding in the backseat of a 2009 Mitsubishi Galant driven by Erich Richter of Register, GA. Carlina Richter, also of Register, was in the front passenger seat and Joshua Bridges, of Savannah, was beside Don in the backseat. Erich, Carlina and Joshua were all taken by EMS to Memorial University Medical Center. Cleaveland was taken to Memorial in a private vehicle.
South Carolina Highway Patrol officials say Coleman is facing one count of felony driving under the influence involving death, and two counts of felony driving under the influence with great bodily injury.
An extradition hearing was scheduled for Coleman Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. in Chatham County Superior Court.
Coleman was given the option of waiving an extradition hearing, granting his extradition to South Carolina and into the custody of the Jasper County Sheriff's Office, or to request a hearing in front of a Superior Court judge.
Coleman exercised his right to a hearing on Wednesday morning.
Judge Abbot started off by saying, "Mr. Coleman, can you hear me? Can you understand me?"
Judge Abbot proceeded by saying, "You were brought over from the jail today to come before a superior court judge so you can have you extradition rights explained to you. Extradition is the process in by which a person is located in one state has charges pending in another state. And you will end up having to make one of two choices this morning. The charges are in the state of South Carolina and the charge is felony driving under the influence, great bodily harm results, that is all the information I have about these charges because I don't know that I have a copy of the warrants."
"In any event, South Carolina wants you back to face those charges. You have certain rights with respect to extradition. You have the right if you want to, to request a hearing before one of the Superior Court Judges, you could ask for appointment of council although the public defender's office does not have the duty to do so because it is a civic matter and not a criminal matter as between you and Georgia. At that hearing the only issues would be would whether or not you should be returned to South Carolina so that would primarily involve whether or not all the paperwork has all been done correctly and a timely manner, whether or not you are the person named in the warrant, and whether your presence is a necessary element of the offense charged, whether or not you were actually in South Carolina at the time. In other words, fairly limited issues. At the end of that hearing, the judge would decide whether you are required to return to South Carolina," explained Abbot.
"Your other choice is this, to give up the right to a hearing and agree to return to South Carolina. That would mean we have no hearing and the South Carolina, the Sheriff's Department from Jasper County, would come pick you up and take you to a jail in South Carolina. Do you understand that? Do you have any questions?" asked Abbot.
Coleman shakes head no.
"Which is your choice?" Abbot asked.
Coleman shrugs. He appears to say yes.
"So you want to wave your right to a hearing, that is give up the right to a hearing and agree to return to South Carolina?" asked Abbot.
"You said make a choice on the hearing?" Coleman asked.
"The choice is to fight extradition which involves our notifying of the sheriff's department in Jasper County, the Sheriff in Jasper County will obtain a warrant from the Governor of South Carolina and upon its return here in Chatham County. You will be given a reasonable time to file a petition for a written Habeas Corpus which is a fancy name for the action you bring to challenge whether or not you will be removed to South Carolina. Do you understand that? You give us the right to the hearing. You either have a hearing or you give it up and go to South Carolina now," Abbot explained.
Coleman says, "hearing."
Judge Abbot said, "You want the hearing?"
Coleman nods his head in agreement.
"The form I am going to give you is called refusal of waiver," Abbot said.
Abbot continues to tell him how he by signing it is he refusing the waiving of a hearing. Coleman then signs the paper.
Judge Abbot says, "Mr. Coleman I don't know how long it will take to get the governors warrant, you will stay here in the Chatham County Jail until such time the warrant is returned. You will be notified by an order of court. Usually I do 10 days to file a petition of Habeas Corpus, if you do not file it then you get extradited immediately if you do file it then you will be assigned to a judge for a hearing, do you understand that? Thank you Mr. Coleman."
The collision remains under investigation by the SC Highway Patrol's MAIT Team.
More information will be released as it becomes available.