Dawson found guilty in fatal wreck

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, November 18, 2017

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A Chico man was found guilty Thursday of intoxication manslaughter stemming from a fatal accident in February of 2015 near Boyd.

Late Friday afternoon, a Wise County jury delivered its verdict of five years in prison.

The jury deliberated for about 30 minutes Thursday afternoon before finding Nathen Wayne Dawson, 24, guilty in the wreck that killed 17-year-old Christopher Bragg, a Lake Dallas resident.

The wreck happened at a sharp curve on County Road 4590 just off Texas 114 west of Boyd around 11:30 p.m. Feb. 13, 2015.

The investigating officer, Department of Public Safety Trooper Patrick Garcia, testified that Dawson was driving his car at an unsafe speed when he lost control, went through a fence and rolled his vehicle several times. Bragg, who was his passenger, was ejected from the vehicle and killed.

Dawson was flown from the scene to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. Prosecutors called numerous witnesses who testified about blood tests drawn at the hospital as well as a blood test sent to the DPS crime lab in Abilene that showed Dawson’s blood alcohol content was over the legal limit of 0.08.

Dawson’s attorneys argued that since neither of the car’s occupants were wearing a seat belt, it was possible that Bragg was driving and Dawson ended up being thrown into the driver’s seat.

On Friday, the jury heard testimony during the punishment phase of the trial. Dawson faced 2 to 20 years in prison for the second degree felony offense. Because he had not been previously convicted of a felony, he was also eligible for probation.

The jury deliberated for about two hours Friday afternoon before delivering their five-year verdict. In addition, the jury assessed a $5,000 fine.

The jury also found that the car was used as a deadly weapon, which affects when Dawson will become eligible for parole. Dawson must serve half of his sentence before he is parole eligible.

The case was heard in 271st District Court in Decatur.

A full story of the trial will be featured in next Wednesday’s Wise County Messenger.

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