A 66-year-old man with a lengthy history of drunk driving arrests was sentenced to 30 years in prison Wednesday in connection with a single vehicle crash last year that ended the lives of two passengers.
Isiah Williams used walker as he made his way to the podium for a plea and sentencing hearing Wednesday morning before 102nd District Judge Jeff Addison in a Bowie County courtroom. Williams entered pleas of guilty to two counts of murder with the help of Assistant Public Defender Deborah Moore.
As part of Williams’ plea agreement, the two 30-year sentences will run concurrently. Bowie County Assistant District Attorneys Randle Smolarz and Craig Foster represented the state.
Williams had a blood alcohol of .216, nearly three times the legal limit of .08, when he veered off of Interstate 30 near the 186 mile marker Feb. 2, 2018. It was just after 5 p.m. when Williams’ pickup traveled across a grassy area and a ditch before crossing the south service road and hitting a tree, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Both Williams’ front and rear passengers, Jimmie Gant, 62, of Ashdown and Kathy Brown, 59, of Texarkana, Texas, died of injuries received in the wreck. Williams was transported via helicopter to St. Michael’s Hospital in Texarkana for treatment.
“The speedometer was locked on 63 miles per hour and the driver stated that he had the cruise control set on 65 miles per hour,” the affidavit states.
According to the affidavit, there was no evidence that Williams attempted to use his brakes before hitting the tree.
Court records in Arkansas and Texas show Williams has been arrested repeatedly for drinking and driving over the last three decades and that he has served time in prison for the dangerous conduct.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 30 people per day die in drunk driving accidents in the U.S. The agency’s website states that nearly 11,000 people were killed because of drunk driving in 2017 or one person every 48 minutes.