It took a Wise County jury less than 20 minutes to find Billy A. Allred, 61, of Boyd, guilty of intoxication manslaughter Wednesday afternoon.
He faced a sentence of two to 20 years imprisonment and a fine not to exceed $10,000. The jury, composed of six men and six women, gave Allred the maximum 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The state had offered Allred a 10-year plea deal.
“It sends a strong message,” said District Attorney Greg Lowery. “We don’t have a problem with drinking, just improper drinking. This unfortunate incident cost a woman her life and had a man sentenced to 20 years in prison. Hopefully, this will convince someone not to drink and drive, and possibly save someone’s life.”
In July 2009, Allred wrecked his Camaro near his home on County Road 4764. The car crashed through a fence, rolled and landed in a pasture. Allred, along with passenger Angie Hardin, 43, were thrown from the vehicle. Hardin was pronounced dead at the scene. She had two children.
The crash almost killed Allred as well. He spent a month in the hospital recovering. Allred had a blood alcohol level of 0.19 when tested after the accident. He had four DWI convictions on his record.
The defendant missed the verdict and sentencing phases of the trial after spending part of the day in the hospital.
On Wednesday morning, the second and final day of the trial, the defendant’s brother arrived at the courthouse. He informed the court that Allred fell and hurt himself the night before and would be unable to attend.
District Judge John Fostel called for a forfeiture on Allred’s bond. Medics and investigators were dispatched to the defendant’s home. Allred was taken to Wise Regional for dehydration before being transported to Wise County Jail.
The defendant was represented by a court-appointed attorney, Lee Ann Brooks, of Denton. The defense called no witnesses during any phase of the two-day trial.
The defense’s strategy was to convince the jury that Hardin was the actual driver. But the state had two witnesses who were also on County Road 4764 the night of the accident. They both positively identified Allred as the driver. They had passed the Camaro, which was parked in the road, just before it suddenly accelerated and flipped.
Assistant District Attorney Tim Cole asked the jury for the maximum prison sentence.
“He’s had four chances since 1983,” Cole said. “He’s not gonna change his behavior. He’s proved that again and again … I urge you to send a strong message. Send him away for as long as you can. That’s the only way to protect the public.”
The jurors agreed and delivered the maximum sentence after less than an hour of deliberation.
Lowery said they don’t ask for the maximum in every case, but due to the prior DWI convictions and the age of the defendant they did this time.
This was the first intoxication manslaughter jury trial in Wise County in more than a decade.