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Probation given in fatal wreck case; Woman pleads to criminal negligent homocide

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, March 23, 2019
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Wreck Scene

WRECK SCENE – Three people were injured and one 12-year-old killed in this July 2017 wreck near Greenwood. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The mother of a teenage driver involved in a wreck that killed a child in July 2017 on Greenwood Road pleaded guilty to criminal negligent homicide Wednesday.

Tamra Gibbon, 34, was placed on deferred adjudication and sentenced to five years probation by visiting Judge Vicki Isaacks at a Wise County Courthouse hearing.

Gibbon’s son, who was 15 at the time of the wreck, was traveling northeast on Greenwood Road with three juvenile passengers when the Ford Explorer he was driving rolled, ejecting him and two of the passengers, according to the crash report prepared by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Initial information provided at the scene of the wreck indicated the teen swerved to miss a deer that had run across the road, which caused the vehicle to roll.

However, the crash report indicates that driver told officers he was attempting to “jump” a small hill in the road.

“Driver…stated that the jumping of the hill is something that he has done multiple times. Driver…stated he accelerated, but was focused on steering and was not aware of the extent of his speed,” the report states.

The investigation determined the SUV was traveling 87 mph in a 35-mph zone at the time of the wreck.

After making the jump, the driver was unable to maintain control of the vehicle, and the SUV’s right tires left the roadway, the report states. The SUV hit a tree, went into a roll and struck several more trees before landing on its tires.

The three juveniles who were ejected were not wearing seatbelts, according to the report. Two of the juveniles, including the driver and a 12-year-old, were flown to area hospitals with serious injuries. The third, 12-year-old Wade Bates of Sunset, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The other juvenile passenger who remained in the vehicle was taken by ground ambulance to a hospital.

Due to the driver’s age, he was required to have an adult age 21 or older in the front passenger seat while operating the vehicle.

The crash report states the teen driver was charged with manslaughter in addition to speeding, violating his driver’s license restrictions and not wearing a seat belt. Although he was charged, the juvenile’s records are not public, and the district attorney’s office declined to say how the case was adjudicated.

As for Gibbon, her terms of probation include serving 240 hours of community service and having no contact with the Bates family, according to court records. It did not include any jail time.

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