LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - One of the two men who was involved in an alleged alcohol-related fatal racing accident that occurred on FM 706 in March of 2015 accepted a plea deal of six years in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison Friday morning.
"I'm very sorry," said Mitchell Rhodes.
Mitchell Bradley Rhodes, of Lufkin, appeared in Judge Gerald Goodwin's courtroom for a plea hearing Friday morning. As part of the plea deal, he pleaded guilty to failure to stop or render aid in an accident causing death.
The charge, which is normally a second-degree felony, was enhanced to a first-degree felony because of Rhodes' prior convictions. Rhodes was originally charged with racing on a highway causing serious bodily injury and racing on a highway causing bodily injury.
According to an arrest affidavit for James Tad Wheeler, of Corrigan, was racing Rhodes when the accident occurred in March of 2015.
"He was originally charged with racing on a highway. That case was set for jury trial. Based on further investigation and statements obtained, there was no race," said Al. Charanza, Defense Attorney at Law.
"I just want everybody to be at peace, and I apologize. That's it," Rhodes said.
The DPS report stated that Wheeler was the driver of a 2005 GMC pickup, which had veered off the road and rolled over. Wheeler was treated and released at a Lufkin hospital. Two passengers, Sarah Lee Scott and Michael Grant Nash, were ejected from the pickup. Nash died at the scene and Scott was seriously injured.
Wheeler's blood-alcohol level later tested to be .145, according to an arrest affidavit.
A warrant for Wheeler's arrest was signed on March 13, 2015. He was arrested five days later.
Wheeler accepted a plea deal of six years in a TDCJ prison in August of 2015. As part of the plea deal, he pleaded guilty to second-degree felony intoxicated manslaughter, third-degree felony intoxicated assault, and two counts of second-degree felony racing on highway causing serious bodily injury.