Woman given 8-year sentence for intoxication manslaughter

By Brian Knox | Published Monday, February 11, 2019
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A Weatherford woman on Monday was sentenced to eight years in prison in a case stemming from a 2016 wrong-way wreck that killed two men.

Ceslee Southers

Ceslee Nicole Southers, 24, entered a guilty plea to two counts of intoxication manslaughter with a vehicle in 271st District Court last Thursday. Her sentencing hearing in front of District Judge Brock Smith was Monday morning.

The wreck happened around 5 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016, on U.S. 81/287 north of Rhome. Southers had been driving a Hyundai passenger car south in the northbound lane when she collided head-on with a Honda passenger car driven by Benis Escalante, 39, of Dallas, according to Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Carson Bening.

Escalante and a passenger, Adolfo Aquilar Cepeda, 42, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Southers was seriously injured and flown from the scene to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth for medical treatment.

In his arrest warrant affidavit, Bening said he could smell a strong odor of alcohol on Southers’ breath at the wreck scene.

“Medical records indicated her blood alcohol content was 0.246 and found marijuana and cocaine as well,” Bening said in the affidavit.

A blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher is considered legally intoxicated.

On Monday morning, family and friends of both the deceased and Southers watched from the first two rows of benches in the courtroom as Southers, walking with the assistance of a walker due to injuries she sustained in the wreck, made her way to the front of the courtroom.

In delivering the 8-year sentence for the second degree felony offense, Smith said he hoped Southers would have the opportunity to receive any drug or alcohol treatment that might be available to her while in prison. He then addressed his comments to both the family of the victims and to Souther herself.

“I know there’s just been a lot of human loss and sadness for a case like this. I hope for the family members and your loss of family members, I sincerely hope you can find peace and forgiveness for this young lady here. Obviously she’s been punished in many ways and will continue to be,” Smith said.

“For you Ms. Southers, I hope you find the courage to continue to deal with your situation, and I hope you have the opportunity some people get in the future for second chances.”

Southers’ attorney, Charles Tibbels, entered one defense exhibit during the hearing: information about Souther’s health situation. Following the hearing, Tibbels said Southers would be dealing with injuries from the wreck for the rest of her life.

“It’s a sad situation for everyone involved,” he said.

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