A father of three is going to prison after pleading guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol in the collision that killed 23-year-old Myles Avery Holland and injured Tori Reeder.
Torbert S. Mack, 36, of 1105 Lexington Street, Orangeburg pleaded guilty Monday to felony DUI resulting in death and felony DUI involving great bodily injury.
Circuit Judge Doyet A. Early sentenced Mack to 11 years in prison, stating that he has to serve 85 percent of the term before parole can be considered. Once paroled, he’ll be under supervised release.
Assistant Solicitor Ted Lupton told the court that Mack disregarded a red traffic light at Ellis Avenue and Boulevard Street around 10:25 p.m. on Nov. 18, 2017.
Mack T-boned the vehicle driven by Holland. Reeder, Holland’s girlfriend, was a passenger.
The S.C. Law Enforcement Division tested Mack’s blood, which indicated his blood alcohol concentration was .251 percent.
The legal limit in South Carolina is .08 percent.
Before Mack pleaded guilty to the charges, he told the court he wanted to have a trial instead. He said he needed more time to get his affairs in order before facing a lengthy prison sentence.
Mack’s public defender, Minh Wyman, and Lupton then met in judge’s chambers with Early.
Mack reconsidered and decided to plead guilty to both charges.
After Mack pleaded guilty to the charges, Early asked him several questions about where he consumed alcohol, what he drank and how much.
Mack said he visited a friend with a cousin and drank about six beers that afternoon before he left for El Toro Bar and Grill on Chestnut Street sometime between 8 and 9 p.m.
Mack then consumed two additional 16-ounce Bud Lights and three cocktails called Donald Trump. He described the cocktail as having “10 to 12 different liquors in one.”
Early asked him, “Why did you order a drink called a Donald Trump? Was it because of what was in it?”
“It would get you to where you had to be,” Mack said. “It’s a smooth drink.”
“Donald Trump, that’s what I was into. Every time I go there, that’s what I got,” he said.
Early asked him if anyone asked him to leave the bar due to any type of behavior.
“From my understanding, they said I was staggering and they told someone I had to go,” he said.
That’s when he and his cousin left the bar, with Mack behind the wheel.
“I left El Toro and the only thing I remember is when I got to the light, right there by Ellis, I made a left turn and when I went down further after that, I don’t remember nothing else,” Mack said.
“All I remember is them pulling me out the car,” he added.
After a pause, he noted, “I’m just sorry.”
Mack is engaged to be married and has three children – ages 9, 14 and 15.
Holland’s family addressed the court before Early sentenced Mack.
Two of his brothers – Sterling and Carlton – spoke of their slain loved one.
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“I just think about the accomplishments he’s had. … He was getting jobs and traveling to Baltimore and Boston and about to go to Germany,” Sterling said.
Myles graduated from Claflin University in spring 2017 with a degree in criminal justice. He planned to complete the Criminal Justice Academy, work as a law enforcement officer and one day own and operate a security company.
“My brother, he was a senior when I was a freshman coming into Claflin,” Sterling said.
“It’s hard, but I forgive him,” Sterling said of Mack.
Carlton said the best way to put a stop to driving while under the influence is, “to go back into your community and just put forth the effort and make a change.”
He said he and his family have been involved in community efforts to do just that.
“Claflin doesn’t need that, Orangeburg doesn’t need that, South Carolina doesn’t need that, the rest of American doesn’t need that,” he said of individuals driving while intoxicated.
“I want you to see my baby,” said Dr. Alphene Holland as sons Carlton and Sterling unfurled a photo collage banner depicting Myles.
“When his dad and I got married, we thought we were going to start a family and we had complications,” she said.
They were living in Oklahoma at the time.
“We had a wonderful specialist, Dr. Avery, that’s why Myles’ middle name is Avery and ‘Myles’ because it took us many miles to get Carlton and Myles,” she said.
“We lost four before we had the six,” she added.
“They were much prayed for children,” she explained, choking back tears.
“Myles had this big smile and he would hug you and he would give forehead kisses. He would light up the whole room,” she said.
“You don’t plan to bury your child,” she added. “He’s in my plot. He’s where I’m supposed to be in the future.”
The Rev. Vernon Holland described his late son as an engine.
“Even though he was the second oldest, he was the engine and his other brothers were the parts – the spark plugs and battery and the alternator, but he was the engine that made everything work,” he said.
“He was a leader and a protector,” he added.
He explained that he suffered a stroke in November 2016 when Myles was a student at Claflin.
“I lived in Hartsville and he would drive from Orangeburg to Hartsville and carry me to the Veterans Administration, wait on me, take me back to Hartsville, come back to Orangeburg and I would reach in my pocket to give him money. He said, ‘Dad, you’ve already raised me. I’m a man now.’”
“He was socially aware, a people’s person, very mannerable and had dreams and aspirations,” he said.
“I’m proud of everything he’s done in 23 years,” he added.
“We’re still damaged goods and the latter part is more important. We’re still good, even though we’re damaged,” he said.
He said the Holland family continues praying for Mack.
He told the court that if Mack has not placed his trust in Jesus Christ, then he needs to get to know him because he’s the only one who will be able to get him through this difficult time.
Several members of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity were present during Mack’s hearing. Myles Holland was a member of the fraternity.