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Rockwall County jury sentences local man convicted of Intoxication Manslaughter to 60 years

(ROCKWALL, TX – May 15, 2017) On Thursday, May 11, 2017, a Rockwall County jury convicted Collin County resident Bruce Edward Bingham, Jr., age 32, of the second-degree felony offense of Intoxication Manslaughter.  The punishment range was then enhanced based on Bingham’s plea of true to a prior felony conviction.  On Friday, May 12, 2017, the same jury sentenced Bingham to sixty (60) years in prison.

Testimony showed that Rockwall residents Thomas Madden and his wife, Susan Blick, left their home to go to McDonald’s shortly after 10:00pm on December 23, 2015.  On their way home, their vehicle was struck head-on by Bingham, who crossed into the southbound lane of traffic near the 3000 block of N. SH 205.  Thomas Madden died as a result of his injuries on Christmas Day.

Jurors heard testimony from several eyewitnesses to the crash and from many first responders and crash investigators who noted, among other things, that Bingham was traveling with alcoholic beverages and drug paraphernalia in his vehicle.  Significantly, jurors also heard that, when tested over four hours after the deadly crash, Bingham still had a blood alcohol level of 0.154, almost twice the legal limit.

During the sentencing phase, jurors learned that Bingham was a habitual offender with two (2) prior convictions for Driving While Intoxicated.  Notably, in one of these cases, Bingham had struck another vehicle and fled the scene.  Lead prosecutor, ADA Lauren Black, also introduced evidence that Bingham had been previously convicted and sentenced to prison for the felony offenses of Injury to a Child and Evading Arrest with a Vehicle.

“This tragedy was a foreseeable result of the defendant’s selfish choice which was a continuation of his pattern of drinking and driving and having no regard for others on the roadway,” said Black. “The verdict sends a strong message to both the victim’s family and to the community that drinking and driving and the destruction of life will not be tolerated.”

ADA Mandy Waite, who sat second chair on the case, praised the efforts of law enforcement in the case.  “This case involved the collaboration of numerous officers and investigators from the Rockwall Police Department who worked tirelessly to build a strong case, ensuring that justice was done.”

Rockwall County District Attorney Kenda Culpepper added, “This case highlights why Rockwall County law enforcement takes DWI so seriously.  People who drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs make a deadly choice that puts all of us on the road at risk.  We can only hope that, in the future, an intoxicated driver will consider the consequences of his or her actions before putting their car in gear.”

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