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Drunk driver sentenced for Richmond vehicular manslaughter

A Richmond, Texas driver may spend more time in prison than the number of years he has been alive. The 24-year-old’s sentences for intoxicated manslaughter, intoxicated assault and evidence tampering will be served concurrently, up to the longest sentence of 25 years.

A fatal drunk-driving accident is the source of the charges. One woman lost her life and another was injured in the September 2010 car accident. Fort Bend County investigators say the women occupied a vehicle waiting for an accident to be moved from traffic on US 59. It was around 3 a.m. when second vehicle slammed into the stopped car. The 22-year-old woman driver in the stationary vehicle died immediately. The woman passenger survived the collision but was hurt. The victim was airlifted for hospitalization and treatment.

Witnesses say the driver who caused the deadly collision staggered around the scene without a concern for the injured victims. Police say the defendant attempted to disguise evidence by tossing beer cans off the highway. When officers confronted the man, he apparently became combative, refused to participate in a field sobriety test and kicked out the window of a car. Police say a blood test taken later showed the suspect’s alcohol level was 0.22, nearly triple the state limit.

A passenger in the suspect’s car told troopers that the pair had been at a bar, where she unsuccessfully attempted to wrest away the driver’s keys. The woman also said the defendant wanted her to tell officers that she was behind the wheel.

The suspect claimed in court he remembered nothing about the crash, although he admitted having multiple beers before driving.

The convicted man had a criminal history, although none of the seven misdemeanors were alcohol-related. The drunk-driving accident occurred while the defendant was on parole following a felony conviction for domestic violence. A prison term of over one dozen years is mandatory before the drunk driver is eligible for parole.

Source: click2houston.com, "Driver sentenced to prison for deadly drunk-driving wreck," May 10, 2012

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