An Elkmont, Alabama, resident was recently sentenced to life with a chance of parole for the alcohol-related traffic death of a 30-year-old mother and severe injury of the woman's young daughter when he crashed into their family car last year. As a Birmingham drunk driving lawyer, I provide DUI defense to persons accused of driving while intoxicated. This case involved a serious violation of Alabama DUI laws, as well as other traffic regulations, so the resulting decision and sentence is not that surprising.
According to news reports, Stanley Lynn Wray had eight previous drunk driving convictions prior to the accident that killed Carrie Ann Gooch Nave in April 2008. Police reports showed that Wray was already on probation for an earlier conviction of felony DUI in 2006 when his car slammed into the family's vehicle.
Having a felony DUI conviction meant that Wray already had three or more convictions for drunk driving over a span of five years.
Riding in the car with Nave was her husband Chad and their daughter Columbia. The three were traveling home from the Piggly Wiggly grocery store in Elkmont when the accident happened around 5pm in the afternoon. The force of the crash severely damaged the front and driver's side of the vehicle, and although Nave was wearing her seat belt and the car's air bag deployed, she did not survive the crash.
Columbia Nave was seriously injured, with a fractured right wrist, left elbow, ribs and femur. She was flown by MedFlight helicopter to Huntsville Hospital. Chad was treated for minor injuries at Athens-Limestone Hospital, along with Wray.
According to court records, Wray had consumed a great quantity of alcohol prior to the accident. Right after the crash, Wray's blood-alcohol content (BAC) measured 0.319 percent and higher, according to police.
Wray was initially charged with violating probation on the DUI, but later charged with reckless murder for killing Nave, as well as assault for seriously injuring Columbia. In court, the defendant entered a blind guilty plea last June. This essentially meant that he had no plea agreement and would take his chances at sentencing.
Although he requested leniency, Limestone Circuit Judge Bob Baker gave Wray the maximum sentence allowed by law for reckless murder — life with chance for parole. Baker also sentenced Wray to simultaneously serve 20 years for first-degree assault for seriously injuring Nave's daughter.
Wray sentenced to life in prison, eNewsCourier.com, September 8, 2009