Drunk driver gets 13 years for intoxication manslaughter


A man who was drunk and under the influence of drugs when he caused a crash last year in Bowie County that killed one and left another severely injured was sentenced to 13 years in prison Monday.

Tyler Reed Pate, 24, entered pleas of guilty Monday to intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault at a hearing before 202nd District Judge John Tidwell. Pate was represented by Texarkana lawyer Jason Horton.

Pate struck a Toyota Avalon in the right lane as he drove a Ford Fusion in the left as the two cars traveled on U.S. Hwy. 59 in Bowie County just outside Texarkana, Texas, on the night of April 12. The Avalon’s driver, 57-year-old Perry Morgan, was taken to a Texarkana hospital with serious injuries while the Avalon’s passenger, 53-year-old Edna Morgan, died of her injuries in a local hospital.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Pate smelled of alcohol and could barely stand when Texas Department of Public Safety troopers spoke to him following the collision.

“His eyes were red, bloodshot and glassy and his speech was slurred,” the affidavit states. “I also noticed that Pate was very unsteady on his feet. Pate almost fell numerous times.”

Pate’s blood alcohol level registered .14 on a portable breathalyzer. Pate gave his consent to have his blood drawn and the sample was sent to the DPS crime lab for analysis. Pate allegedly admitted to officers that he had taken a “Xanax bar” at 4 p.m. the afternoon of the crash and “one small piece Fentanyl.” Xanax is a tranquilizer and fentanyl is a synthetic opioid.

First Assistant District Attorney Mike Shepherd said that Pate’s plea agreement is approved by the Morgan family. Pate received 13 years for intoxication manslaughter and 10 years for intoxication assault. Pate will serve the two terms at the same time.

Perry Morgan and his daughter, Shari Morgan, gave victim impact statements at the hearing.

“My mother was my best friend and you took her from me,” Shari Morgan said. “I hope God can forgive you because I never will.”

Shari Morgan spoke of her three young sons who are growing up without a grandmother. Shari Morgan said she and her brother rushed to Texarkana to be with their mother but were 10 minutes too late to see her alive and say goodbye.

Perry Morgan said he suffered broken shoulders, a broken collar bone, bleeding on his brain and other injuries.

“This is a day of loss. There are no winners here today,” Perry Morgan said.

Perry Morgan described his wife as having a heart of gold and the type of person who always placed other’s needs before her own. He described Pate as “foolish” and “selfish.”

“We met in 1978 and three years later we got married,” Perry Morgan said. “You are the reason I sleep and wake up alone.”

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