Recently, a man from Arlington, TX was sentenced to 30 years in a state prison for Driving While Intoxicated and causing an accident which led to the death of one man and seriously injured another. Mr. Ashlee Straker, 23, was sentenced to 30 years for the intoxication manslaughter charge and another 20 years for two counts of failure to stop and render aid and one count of intoxication assault.
The sentences will run concurrently. When sentences run concurrently, it means that the defendant serves the sentences at the same time. This is in contrast to sentences which run consecutively, where one sentence starts and finishes before the defendant may begin serving time for the additional sentence(s). In addition, Straker must serve 15 years of his sentence before he can become eligible for parole.
The charges and conviction stems from an incident which occurred in November of 2012. Straker was driving two other individuals home from a party when he lost control of his vehicle. The vehicle rolled several times and the other two individuals were ejected. Passenger Lokuckim “Jessy” Kipasa died at the scene and the other passenger, Donte Pierce, survived but was injured.
Apparently, instead of staying on the scene to notify police, render assistance, or get help, Straker walked away from the accident and hitched a ride from vehicle passing by. The local authorities eventually caught up with Straker, who was talking with his girlfriend and admitted to being the driver at the time of the accident.
Although Straker’s BAC (blood alcohol content) was below the legal limit (his was .07% and the legal limit is .08%), he was still convicted of intoxication manslaughter. Authorities did determine that Straker had both Xanax and a large amount of marijuana in his body.
In addition, this was not Straker’s first meeting with law enforcement. In August 2012, he was charged with assault bodily injury against a couple. Then, in August 2013, he was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was accused of brandishing his gun in front of three women. In addition, he has a previous conviction for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
The crime of intoxication manslaughter is defined by the state of Texas to be the following:
(a) A person commits an offense if the person: Operates a motor vehicle in a public place, operates an aircraft, a watercraft, or an amusement ride, or assembles a mobile amusement ride; and Is intoxicated and by reason of that intoxication causes the death of another by accident or mistake.
(b) Except as provided by Section 49.09, an offense under this section is a felony of the second degree.
In most cases, a Second Degree felony is punishable by 2-20 years in prison and as much as a $10,000 fine. However, additional circumstances and the facts of a case can cause the punishment to be more severe. This was the case with Straker, who was sentenced to 30 years.
When faced with a charge of intoxication assault, manslaughter, or other alcohol-related offenses, it is best to work with an experienced DWI defense attorney. The consequences are simply too severe to do without competent counsel. If you are facing charges in Dallas, Corsicana, or Collin County, call my office at and we can schedule a consultation.