6-year-old and great-grandma die in crash. Now South Carolina man pleads guilty to DUI

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A “charming” first-grade boy and his crochet-loving great-grandmother died in a crash, and now a man accused of plowing into their car at 100 mph is going to prison in South Carolina.

Jose Martin Guzman Pliego was sentenced to 36 years behind bars after he pleaded guilty to “two counts of felony DUI with death and two counts of felony DUI with great bodily injury,” according to Greenville-area prosecutors.

The Thirteenth Judicial Circuit solicitor’s office didn’t list attorney information for the man, a 31-year-old Pickens resident, in a Feb. 2 news release.

The case dates back to Nov. 4, 2021, when Pliego was accused of being behind the wheel after drinking alcohol. Prosecutors said he was driving about 100 mph when he crashed into the back of a Ford Fiesta.

“The victims’ vehicle rolled and ultimately came to a rest on its hood” along U.S. Highway 123, also called Calhoun Memorial Highway, officials said.

Two people inside the car — 70-year-old Pickens resident Gladys Holbrooks and her 6-year-old great-grandson Cameron Michael Durham — were killed in the crash.

Also in the car was a 4-year-old left with two broken legs and a spine injury, officials said. Another family member suffered “substantial pelvic fractures,” the release said.

In an obituary, Holbrooks is remembered as a “homemaker and a longtime member of Maranatha Baptist Church.”

“Her biggest joys in life included watching Frances & Friends, crocheting, and her family,” according to the post on the Liberty Mortuary website.

Her great-grandson Cameron had a “sweet smile and charming personality,” Pickens Elementary School teacher Katie Taylor told McClatchy News in 2021.

“He never passed up the opportunity to tell a good story or help a friend,” Taylor said. “He loved making us smile and laugh through the stories he told and the connections that he made with anything we were learning — especially if he could relate it to fishing.”

The Thirteenth Judicial Circuit solicitor’s office didn’t immediately share additional information with McClatchy News on Feb. 3.

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