Texarkana woman pleads guilty in drunk driving death

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A Texarkana woman pleaded guilty Monday afternoon to intoxication manslaughter at a hearing before a district judge in Bowie County but a jury is expected to decide her punishment later this week.

Callie Jones, 59, appeared Monday before 102nd District Judge Bobby Lockhart with Texarkana lawyer Joe Tyler. Jones pleaded guilty in the Sept. 3, 2017, of Skylar Crenshaw. Crenshaw, 29, was riding his motorcycle on New Boston Road in Texarkana, Texas, when Jones entered the roadway from Reading Avenue and struck him with her 2002 Honda Civic.

Crenshaw was thrown from the motorcycle and struck a utility pole guide wire, severing his arm and killing him at the scene. Jones, who has no prior felony convictions, is eligible to receive probation if sentenced to 10 or fewer years and if the jury recommends probation. Jones faces a punishment range of two to 20 years.

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At Monday’s hearing, Tyler argued that photos of Crenshaw’s body taken at the scene and at the medical examiner’s office are too graphic and will unfairly prejudice the jury against Jones if shown during the punishment-only trial. Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp argued that the photos are necessary to show the jury the condition of Crenshaw’s body, what the weather was like and to illustrate the road conditions.

“I’ll admit the photos in this case are gruesome,” Crisp said. “But they’re an accurate representation of what took place. The body was not manipulated. This is how he appeared lying in the middle of New Boston Road.”

Lockhart agreed that some, but not all, of the photos the state is seeking to introduce will be seen by the jury.

Crenshaw’s arm was located some distance from his body following the crash and paramedics told police Jones smelled of alcohol. Jones’ blood was collected at a local hospital after the wreck and she was arrested after failing to successfully perform field sobriety tests.

Even if Jones receives probation from the jury she will have to serve a minimum 180-day jail sanction. Texas law requires the mandatory jail time for intoxication manslaughter, Lockhart said at the hearing Monday. Jones is presently free on bond.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin Tuesday morning at the Bowie County courthouse in New Boston. Testimony is scheduled to begin Wednesday.

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