A fatal one-vehicle crash that left two passengers dead on a Bowie County highway in February could mean murder charges for a repeat DWI offender.
Isiah Williams, 67, appeared Tuesday before 102nd District Judge Bobby Lockhart for a pre-indictment hearing on two counts of intoxication manslaughter. Williams was arrested in connection with a Feb. 2 wreck on Interstate 30 in Bowie County that took the lives of Jimmie Grant, 62, and Kathy Brown, 59.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Williams was driving eastbound on I-30 at the 186 mile marker when he veered off the road, drove across a large grassy area and a ditch before crossing the south service road and hitting a tree at about 5 p.m., Feb. 2. Both Grant and Brown died at the scene. Williams was airlifted by helicopter to St. Michael’s Hospital in Texarkana.
Williams blood alcohol level at the time of the crash was .216, according to the affidavit. Williams allegedly blamed the crash on one of the deceased passengers whom he said was intoxicated and grabbed the steering wheel. No evidence of braking was found and the speedometer on the wrecked F-150 was locked at 63 miles per hour.
Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp said Tuesday that she intends to ask a Bowie County grand jury to indict Williams for felony murder. Williams has at least five prior convictions for driving while intoxicated. In Texas, a third DWI charge may be filed as a felony. A defendant who causes the death of another person while in the process of committing a felony can be charged with murder.
Arkansas court records show Williams was charged with DWI in Miller and Little River Counties on the following dates: Sept. 1, 2012; Sept. 14, 2012; Dec. 8, 2012; May 16, 2013 and April 8, 2016. Williams was sentenced to four years in prison for DWI, fifth offense, in Miller County on June 14, 2016.
Crisp said Williams could be indicted later this month. Lockhart told Williams that he faces two to 20 years in prison for each of the intoxication manslaughter charges currently pending against him but that those charges could change if a grand jury indicts for a different offense, such as murder. Murder is punishable by five to 99 years or life in prison.
Williams is currently being held in the Bowie County jail. Bail is set at $100,000.