Sourattiya Chitpanya, 37, pleaded guilty Tuesday to felony DUI resulting in death and child endangerment from the September 2021 head-on collision. The six-year sentence was a negotiated agreement between Chitpanya and prosecutors, lawyers said in court at the Moss Justice Center.
Mikayla Weatherly, 21, of Lancaster, died in the crash. Weatherly was a passenger in the other vehicle, prosecutors said. The wreck happened on Springdale Road in Rock Hill, near Dave Lyle Boulevard and Interstate 77.
Resident York County Judge Dan Hall accepted the negotiated agreement and said the public needs to know DUI cases have consequences when people lose their lives.
“A message has to be sent to the community about the seriousness of these offenses,” Hall said in court.
Chitpanya had fentanyl and other drugs in her blood when it was tested after the crash, 16th Circuit Senior Solicitor Matthew Shelton said in court. Chitpanya also had a young child in the car with her at the time of the collision, Shelton said.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that’s about 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Chitpanya apologized to the victim’s family in court, acknowledging that the loss of the victim was preventable if she did not drive that day.
Chitpanya’s lawyer, Robby Bruce of York County, said Chitpanya had no intent to harm anyone, but pleaded guilty to accept the consequences.