A Montgomery teen is headed to state prison, after pleading guilty to killing his friend while driving drunk.
Montgomery County prosecutors said that David Wiggins, 19, pleaded guilty to charges of Intoxication Manslaughter and Intoxication Assault Sept. 26. The charges stem from an accident that occurred just before Christmas last year.
"There are no winners in this case, the Brown family still morns the loss of their son and David Wiggins is headed to prison as a 19-year-old kid," said Tyler Dunham, prosecutor for vehicular crimes. "Nonetheless, this case exemplifies the absolute dangers of drinking and driving, especially among young, inexperienced drivers."
Prosecutors said that Wiggins left a party at a residence on Keenan Cut-Off road and was heading to another party when he lost control of his truck on a curve and struck a power pole. Benjamin Brown, 17, of Magnolia was killed instantly, while another passenger, Sean Fontenot, 17, was seriously injured.
State troopers investigated the crash and determined that Wiggins blood alcohol level was .146 – nearly twice the legal limit.
As part of the plea agreement, Wiggins will serve three years in state prison. Upon his release he will be required to complete 10 years of supervised probation.
Wiggins will have to pay thousands in fines and court costs, undergo drug and alcohol treatment, complete community service hours, complete a two-year driver's license suspension, maintain an ignition lock on his vehicles and pay restitution to the victims families. He will also be required to speak to students about drinking and driving twice a year. If he fails to complete the terms of his probation, Wiggins faces an additional 10 years in prison.
The families of both victims played a large role in the outcome of the case, as their main wish was to allow Wiggins the chance to help others realize the horrors that can occur for bad decisions, because he hurt or killed his two best friends, officials noted.
Diane Kinsey, 50, was the homeowner who prosecutors allege provided alcohol to the minors. She was charged with a misdemeanor crime, but a trial date has yet to be set.
Dunham said that cases like this are prime examples of why parents need to talk to children about the dangers of drinking and driving.
"Our office hopes that parents of young drivers will use this tragic case as an opportunity to discuss the dangers of drinking and driving with their children," he said.