A 68-year-old man with a long history of drunk driving received a 30-year prison sentence Wednesday morning after pleading guilty to two counts of felony murder.
Court records in Texas and Arkansas show Isiah Williams has felony drunken driving convictions dating back 30 years, that he has served time in prison for repeated drunken driving, and that he continues to drink and drive when he is free and when his license is suspended.
Williams had a blood-alcohol level of .216 when he slammed a Ford F-150 pickup into a tree along Interstate 30 near the 186-mile marker shortly after 5 p.m. Feb. 2, 2018, according to a probable cause affidavit. Jimmie Gant, 62, of Ashdown, and Kathy Brown, 59, of Texarkana, Texas, were passengers in Williams' truck and died in the one-vehicle wreck.
Williams was traveling eastbound on I-30 when he veered off the roadway, crossed a large grassy area and a ditch before striking a tree. Both of Williams' passengers died at the scene. The rear passenger was partially ejected through the windshield. Williams was transported by helicopter to CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System.
According to the affidavit, there was no evidence Williams attempted to use his brakes before the collision.
Williams used a walker at his hearing Wednesday.
Assistant District Attorneys Randle Smolarz and Craig Foster negotiated a plea deal with Assistant Public Defender Deborah Moore for Williams to serve two concurrent 30-year prison terms. Williams received credit for the time he has spent behind bars while his case was pending.
Considering Williams' age, the sentence may mean he serves the remainder of his life in prison.
Gant's cousin, Alma Scott, said her family doesn't hold Williams accountable for the deaths.
"I believe he never grew up. He was just having fun," Scott said. "Whatever time y'all give him won't bring them back."
Addison commented on Scott's charitable attitude and added, "When there's drinking and driving, bad things happen."