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Medal of Honor Recipient Kyle Carpenter Charged with Hit-and-Run

  • President Barack Obama awards retired Marine Cpl. William "Kyle" Carpenter, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry, Thursday, June 19, 2014, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Medal of Honor recipient Kyle Carpenter was charged Thursday with hit-and-run in connection to an early December incident and turned himself in to Columbia police.

The hit-and-run charge, along with a charge for making an improper left turn, are misdemeanors. Carpenter, 26, appeared with his attorney in Columbia Municipal Court on Thursday morning. He was released on bond from Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.

According to the Columbia Police Department, Carpenter made an improper left turn from Blossom Street onto Assembly Street, striking an 18-year-old pedestrian who had the crossing signal in his favor. The pedestrian was crossing Assembly Street at the crosswalk on the way to the University of South Carolina's Strom Thurmond Wellness and Fitness Center just after 8:30 p.m. Dec. 8.

After the pedestrian was struck, Carpenter pulled over and turned on his hazard lights but did not exit the vehicle to exchange required information or render aid, police officials said in a news release Thursday. The pedestrian stood up and walked over to the side of road, at which time Carpenter left the scene driving south on Blossom Street.

According to the police incident report, "The suspect then left the location without notifying the proper authorities. The driver of the vehicle involved in the accident did not return to the scene to give his name, address and the registration number of the vehicle nor made available his driver's license or render reasonable aide or assistance to the victim."

After resting for a moment, the pedestrian went inside the gym, and Columbia police were notified by several citizens and responded to the scene. The victim was injured in the incident, with scrapes and a leg injury. He was treated by EMS personnel at the scene but declined transportation to the hospital, authorities said.

Investigators reviewed surveillance tapes and witness statements and determined that the vehicle in the incident belonged to Carpenter, authorities said. He gave a statement to investigators after being contacted by law enforcement this month.

Carpenter has fully cooperated with the investigation, authorities said.

Police said they have no evidence that either Carpenter, the youngest living recipient of the Medal of Honor, or the victim were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the incident.

Carpenter received the Medal of Honor two years ago for his actions while as a Marine in Afghanistan in 2010.

Carpenter saved a fellow Marine from a grenade lobbed by a Taliban fighter, taking most of the damage himself. He lost his right eye and most of his teeth. His jaw and right arm were shattered. He spent five weeks in a coma, underwent dozens of surgeries and spent two years in the hospital for rehabilitation.

He is pursuing an undergraduate degree at USC.

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