Thursday, 19-year-old David Wiggins, pleaded guilty to the offenses of Intoxication Manslaughter (2nd degree felony) and Intoxication Assault (3rd degree felony) in the 359th District Court of Montgomery County. Wiggins will serve three years in prison, followed by 10 years of intense community supervision.
In the early morning hours of December 23, 2012, Wiggins and his 17-year-old passengers, Benjamin Brown and Sean Fontenot, left a party at a residence on Keenan Cut-Off Road in west Montgomery County. The trio headed west on Keenan Cut-off at a high rate of speed en route to another party. As they entered a curve in the roadway, Wiggins lost control of the vehicle and went off the road, striking a steel power pole on the south side of the roadway. Brown, who was sitting the front passenger seat, was killed on impact with the pole. Fontenot, the backseat passenger, suffered serious injuries and was transported to Conroe Regional and later released. Wiggins was also transported for his injuries.
The Texas Department of Public Safety investigated the crash and determined that Wiggins had been drinking alcohol prior to driving his vehicle. Wiggins consented to a blood sample and his blood alcohol level was found to be a .146, almost twice the legal limit of .08. Wiggins was subsequently charged with Intoxication Manslaughter and Intoxication Assault, both felonies, for his actions.
As part of the agreement, once Wiggins completes his prison term and begins the 10 years of community supervision, he will pay thousands in fines, court costs and supervisory fees, undergo strict drug and alcohol treatment, complete community service hours. He will also have a two-year driver’s license suspension, maintain an ignition interlock on any vehicle he drives, and pay thousands of dollars in restitution to the victims’ families. In addition, twice each year, Wiggins will speak to students at local high schools on the dangers of driving while intoxicated and how his poor decisions led to the death of one of his best friends, Ben Brown. Wiggins also made a donation to the Ben brown Scholarship Fund. If Wiggins fails to comply with any of the terms of his community supervision, he faces up to 10 years of additional prison time.
Prosecutor Tyler Dunman said, “There are no winners in this case, the Brown family still morns the loss of their son, and David Wiggins is headed to prison as a 19-year-old kid. Nonetheless, this case exemplifies the absolute dangers of drinking and driving, especially among young, inexperienced, drivers. Our office hopes that parents of young drivers will use this tragic case as an opportunity to discuss the dangers of drinking and driving with their children.”
The family of both victims played a big part in the outcome of this case. They are forgiving of D.J. Wiggins and realize he was only 18 at the time of the crash. They wanted him to have a second chance at being able to tell his story to others about the dangers of drinking and driving.
Wiggins also provided a statement in open court taking responsibility for the crash and apologizing for his actions.
Some of the alcohol was provided by a parent of a juvenile while at the party. She was identified as 50-year-old Diane Kinsey, of the 19200 block of Keenan Cutoff. Wiggins was then allowed to leave the party, just before the crash.
Dunman said there is a greater responsibility of parents in the community in making sure these types of things don’t happen. They shouldn’t be providing alcohol to minors, period, and if they were to do such a thing- which is illegal- heaven forbid, they allow them to get in their vehicles and drive away.
Furnishing alcohol to a minor is a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine.