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Innocent, Arkansas man pleads in fatal I-30 crash

Ashdown suspect faces murder charges in Texas wreck

TEXARKANA -- An Ashdown man with a lengthy history of drunken driving convictions entered pleas of innocent Tuesday afternoon to two counts of murder stemming from a fatal crash that took two lives on a Bowie County, Texas, highway earlier this year.

Isiah Williams, 67, appeared with Deborah Moore of the Bowie County public defenders office for arraignment before District Judge Bobby Lockhart in the Bi-State Justice Building. In addition to two counts of murder, Williams is also facing a charge of felony driving while intoxicated.

Court records show Williams had at least five prior DWI convictions at the time of the deadly wreck in February. Williams had a blood alcohol level of 0.216 percent when he slammed his Ford F-150 pickup into a tree along Interstate 30 near the 186-mile marker shortly after 5 p.m. Feb. 2, according to a probable cause affidavit used to create the following account. Jimmie Gant, 62, of Ashdown, and Kathy Brown, 59, of Texarkana, Texas, were passengers in Williams' truck and died in the one-vehicle wreck.

Williams was traveling eastbound on I-30 when he veered off the roadway, crossed across a large grassy area and a ditch before striking a tree, police said. Both of Williams' passengers died at the scene. The rear passenger was partially ejected through the windshield. Williams was transported by helicopter to Christus St. Michael Health System.

"Williams later stated the rear passenger was intoxicated and became angry leaning forward grabbing the steering wheel," the affidavit states. "The speedometer was locked on 63 miles per hour and the driver stated he had the cruise control set on 65 miles per hour. The distance from the time the vehicle left the roadway until impact with the tree would have given a person who was not impaired more than ample time to brake."

According to the affidavit, there was no evidence Williams attempted to use his brakes before the crash.

Williams is being held in the Bowie County jail. If convicted of felony DWI, Williams faces two to 10 years in prison. Williams faces five to 99 years or life in prison on each of the two counts of murder. Lockhart scheduled Williams to return to court for a pretrial hearing Nov. 6.

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Metro on 08/10/2018

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