A man who severely injured his passenger when he crashed his truck into the fountain at the end of State Line Avenue in dowtown Texarkana was sentenced to five years in prison Monday.
Harvey Lynn Terry, 54, appeared before 202nd District Judge John Tidwell for sentencing Monday morning. Terry pleaded guilty at a hearing earlier this month but the case was rescheduled for sentencing so the victim’s family could be present. Terry appeared with Chief Public Defender Rick Shumaker and First Assistant District Attorney Michael Shepherd and Assistant District Attorney Katie Carter appeared for the state.
Carolyn Everett, the sister of victim Donnie Smith, gave a victim impact statement. She told Terry that she used to enjoy cooking dinners for her brother and the time they shared. Everett said Smith is no longer able to hunt and fish and live his life the way he did before the drunk driving accident permanently disabled him.
“I hope no family ever has to go through this,” Everett said. “He will never be the same.”
Terry was highly intoxicated when his teal Nissan pickup veered into the fountain flowing in front of the downtown post office and federal building on State Line Avenue. While the truck appeared to come to rest in both Texas and Arkansas, Texas-side police handled the wreck and the Bowie County District Attorney’s Office managed Terry’s prosecution.
While at the hospital, Terry told an investigator he would rate himself as an eight on a scale of zero to ten, “with zero being not intoxicated and ten being the highest level of intoxication he could imagine for himself.” Terry allegedly reported that he and Smith had been drinking together at the Double R bar and were heading home when the truck crashed.
Smith suffered a closed head injury, bleeding of the brain and respiratory failure but survived the wreck, according to the affidavit. Smith was still being treated in the hospital as of mid-September, according to the affidavit.
Terry avoided the maximum 10-year sentence with his plea bargain for five years.
A lawsuit filed in Miller County by Smith’s co-guardians, Everett and Patricia Jan Jones, accuses the bar of violating the law by over-serving the men and allowing Terry to leave in an intoxicated state. The Double R, also known as the International Room, has filed a response denying it is guilty of any wrongdoing.