Why Augusta Judges May Deserve Some Blame in Hit & Run Death!

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We’d be furious if we were Charles McDaniel’s family.

That’s because the person accused of running McDaniel down on his bicycle and then fleeing the scene has been getting slaps on the wrist for years. Not surprisingly, many of the charges against George Pacheco are traffic-related, including a 2016 hit & run.

George PachecoIn every case, no judge has given Pacheco a prison sentence, as we spell out below.

On Thursday morning, the 59-year-old victim was found lying in a ditch on Wrightsboro Road at Hagin Road.  It was Charles McDaniel, a resident of Barton Chapel Road in Augusta.

“It appears that he was riding a bicycle west on Wrightsboro Road and was struck from behind by a vehicle,” sheriff’s Maj. Steve Morris said. “The victim had severe head trauma and was pronounced dead at the scene.”

The truck that hit him fled the scene, leaving him to die in a ditch. But authorities released a photo of the suspect vehicle and Pacheco surrendered from the publicity. Authorities say he might have had a passenger, something they are investigating.

Pacheco was charged with first-degree vehicular homicide, hit & run, driving while license suspended and improper passing. The suspect is also an Augusta resident who was on felony probation!

But Pacheco has been getting away with criminal offenses all his life. He’s received no prison time despite a continuous streak of bad behavior, including child cruelty.

Consider:

• October 2007: Pacheco was charged with no driver’s license and following too closely, a charge that usually results from a traffic accident. Judge Richard Slaby gave him 12 months of probation and 40 hours of community service.

• September 2008: He was charged with simple battery – family violence for an act of domestic abuse. He took a plea and Judge Patricia Booker gave him 12 months of probation and fines.

• May 2009: Pacheco was again charged with following too closely and violating conditions of an instructional permit. Judge Richard Slaby again gave him 12 months of probation (since that worked so well the previous time.)

• January 2010: He was charged with battery for a domestic abuse case. Another plea before Judge Richard Slaby. Another 12 months of probation.

• May 2011: Pacheco was charged with driving while license suspended and unregistered vehicle. Judge Booker gave him 12 months of probation.

• January 2012: He was stopped for speeding and having a child not properly restrained. Another 12 months of probation by Judge Richard Slaby, making it the fourth time Judge Slaby had given him a year of probation over a six-year period.

• February 2013: Pacheco was charged with driving while license suspended and Judge John Flythe gave him 12 months of probation.

• May 2013: He was charged with cruelty to children in the first-degree. The child’s mother told authorities that Pacheco abused their daughter after she received a disciplinary report from school. The child had visible redness and swelling on her face, neck, head and back. Despite his history, Judge Daniel Craig gave Pacheco “first-offender status” and sentenced him to seven years of probation and 300 hours of community service.

• February 2015: Pacheco was charged with speeding and paid a fine.

• March 2016: He was charged with leaving the scene of an accident, but he pleaded to hit & run and failure to maintain lane. Judge Slaby gave him 12 months of probation on each charge.

• March 2017: He was charged with driving while license suspended in Columbia County. The outcome of that case is not available online.

• Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018: Pacheco is charged with vehicular homicide after allegedly running down a bicyclist and leaving the scene.

Pacheco is being held on a $32,400 bond at the Columbia County Jail.

Editor’s Note: If you have a photo of Charles McDaniel that you would like to share, please text the photo to The Jail Report at 803-487-3224 or email us at [email protected]