Jury selected to decide fate of man accused in fatal drunk driving crash last year

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A jury was selected Tuesday to decide the punishment Kendrick Sauls should receive for intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault.

Sauls, 22, pleaded guilty to both crimes at a hearing in April before 5th District Judge Bill Miller. Sauls’ defense attorney, Butch Dunbar of Texarkana, told the court that Sauls wants a jury to determine what punishment he should receive. Sauls faces 2 to 20 years for intoxication manslaughter and 2 to 10 years for intoxication assault.

Sauls was drunk when he ran a red light at the intersection of Summerhill Road and New Boston Road on May 1, 2020, according to a probable cause affidavit.

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Sauls’ Dodge pickup collided with a Hyundai Santa Fe, causing major damage. Both the Hyundai’s driver and passenger, Mario Haynes, 36, were seriously injured. Haynes did not survive.

After the crash, officers observed a bottle of “steel reserve” liquor on the ground next to the driver’s side of the truck. The first officer to approach Sauls reported that Sauls was yelling at his passenger, “Just kill me,” following the wreck. Sauls exhibited signs of intoxication including slurred speech.

The Hyundai’s driver suffered a variety of injuries including a broken neck, broken collar bone, fractured ribs, lacerated liver, broken bones in both hands and a skull fracture. The driver’s child suffered minor scrapes from flying glass and debris.

Hayes suffered a severe brain bleed, facial fractures and skull fracture from which he did not recover.

Opening statements and testimony in the sentencing trial are set to begin Wednesday morning at the Bowie County courthouse in New Boston.

Sauls is currently being held in the Bowie County jail.

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