NEW BOSTON, Texas — A man who was drunk when he ran a red light and killed two people on a Texarkana roadway last year has pleaded guilty to intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault.
Kendrick Aaron Sauls, 23, appeared Tuesday afternoon before 5th District Judge Bill Miller at the Bowie County courthouse in New Boston with Texarkana lawyer Butch Dunbar. Sauls pleaded guilty to his role in the May 1 death of 36-year-old Mario Haynes and the serious injury suffered by another occupant of the car in which Haynes was traveling.
Sauls has asked that his punishment be decided by a jury. He faces two to 20 years on the manslaughter charge and two to ten years in prison on the intoxication assault.
Assistant District Attorney Katie Carter said jury selection in Sauls' punishment trial is scheduled for May 18.
Sauls was speeding and driving erratically moments before he disregarded a red light at Summerhill and New Boston roads at about 8:30 p.m. May 1, according to a probable cause affidavit. Sauls' gray 2008 Dodge Ram truck struck a blue 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe, causing severe damage to and airbags to deploy in both vehicles.
When police approached Sauls at the accident scene, he was telling his passenger, "Just kill me." Sauls had slurred speech and smelled of alcohol. On the ground next to Sauls' truck, which came to a stop in a grassy area off Summerhill Road, officers observed a bottle of Steel Reserve malt liquor.
The driver of the Santa Fe and her 5-month-old infant son were transported to CHRISTUS St. Michael hospital for treatment.
The driver, 29, suffered a broken neck, a broken left wrist, a broken right hand, a broken collar bone, a fractured skull, a lacerated liver and broken ribs. The baby suffered minor scrapes and scratches from flying glass and debris.
Haynes suffered more serious injuries and was taken to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences hospital after initial treatment at Wadley Regional Medical Center in Texarkana. Haynes suffered a severe brain bleed, facial fractures and a skull fracture.
Sauls has been in the Bowie County jail since his arrest at the scene of the crash.
Mario Haynes' mother, Gloria Haynes, filed a civil wrongful death suit for damages on behalf of herself and Mario Haynes' minor child in September. Last month, an amended petition was filed in the suit adding Lumbini USA doing business as Quick Mart as a defendant in the case.
The suit alleges Sauls was allowed to purchase alcohol at Quick Mart despite being obviously intoxicated and a danger to himself and others.
That case is pending before 202nd District Judge John Tidwell.