Huntington man accused of driving drunk in fatal wreck

William Hooks (Source: Angelina County Jail)
William Hooks (Source: Angelina County Jail)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A 49-year-old Huntington man posted a $40,000 bail and was released after he was booked into the Angelina County Jail on an intoxicated manslaughter and two intoxicated assault charges Monday.

The charges stem from a Nov. 30. 2012 wreck on U.S. Highway 69 South near Angelina County's Dead Man Road that killed one man and seriously injured two other people. William Brady Hooks allegedly had a blood alcohol level of .186 after his pickup struck the driver's side of a van.

Hooks was charged with intoxicated manslaughter, which is a second-degree felony, and two intoxicated assault causing serious bodily injury charges, also felonies. His bail was set at $20,000 for the manslaughter charges and $10,000 each for the assault charges.

A Texas Department of Public Safety trooper obtained an arrest warrant for Hooks from the Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace office on March 7. According to the arrest affidavit, the trooper arrived on the scene and found a damaged gold 2003 Ford F-150 pickup facing south in the southbound lane.

A white 1999 Dodge Ram 1500 van was in the ditch on the southbound side of Highway 69. The van was heavily damaged and facing west.

The van's driver, Lester Lee Banks, was pronounced dead at the scene by Angelina County Justice of the Peace Bradley Stringer. Two passengers in Banks' van, Donita Banks and Tony Runnels, were also injured, resulting in the intoxicated assault charges.

Hooks, the driver of the pickup, was transported to Woodland Heights Medical Center for treatment of injuries received in the crash. Because the trooper believed Hooks was intoxicated at the time of the crash, a blood sample was sent to the DPS Crime Lab in Houston for a toxicology test.

In the affidavit, the DPS trooper said his investigation revealed that Hooks had been traveling north on Highway 69 when he turned left in front of the van driven by Banks, striking it on the driver's side. The toxicology report indicated that Hooks had a blood alcohol level of .187, "well over the legal limit of .08" shortly after the accident.

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