Man sentenced 10 years for intoxicated manslaughter

By Brandon Evans | Published Sunday, July 11, 2010

William B. Griffin, 25, of Bridgeport received a 10-year prison sentence Tuesday after pleading guilty to intoxication manslaughter.

On the night of Jan. 23, 2008, Griffin was speeding on North Main Street in Fort Worth when he ran a red light and hit the side of a passenger car driven by Debbie Gillespie, 41. She was pronounced dead at the scene at approximately 9 p.m.

Griffin and his passenger, Travis Cox, 25, of Chico, suffered no serious injuries. Griffin was arrested at the scene for intoxication manslaughter. Cox was arrested for public intoxication.

Griffin was on probation for a misdemeanor DWI charge out of Montague County at the time of the fatal wreck.

Fort Worth Police Sgt. Rodney Bangs said an officer was completing a routine traffic stop when Griffin buzzed by.

“The officer initiated pursuit of the pickup,” Bangs said. “Griffin did not pull over and proceeded to run a red light before colliding into Gillespie’s car at 8:35 p.m.”

Investigators discovered Griffin was traveling faster than 80 mph at the time of impact.

State District Judge Ruben Gonzalez issued the 10-year sentence after Tuesday’s hearing.

Lisa Cain, Gillespie’s sister, said she forgave Griffin and asked the judge to show leniency. However, Alicia Vandiver, Gillespie’s daughter, said she wanted Griffin punished for taking away her mother’s life.

Several of Griffin’s friends and family also testified. They said the tragic event had changed Griffin’s life, and he is a different person now.

Intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony. It carries a prison sentence of two to 20 years and a maximum fine of $10,000.

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