Man pleads guilty in drunk driving crash that killed two

 November 10, 2023

Residents of southeastern Nebraska were left horrified by a fatal collision this past April that occurred in Hall County at the intersection of Highway 281 and White Cloud Road.

This week saw a man convicted of the crash that claimed a man's life as well as that of a woman's unborn child. 

Man pleads guilty to pair of vehicle homicide charges in deal with prosecutors

According to KSNB Local 4, a 63-year-old St. Paul man named Gary Williams pleaded no contest on Thursday to a pair of motor vehicle homicide charges.

Under an agreement reached with prosecutors, charges of driving while under the influence of alcohol and failing to yield were dropped in exchange for Williams' guilty plea.

The station noted that Williams's victims were 59-year-old Darren Findley, who died at the scene of the crash, along with the unborn baby of a woman who miscarried shortly thereafter.

Impaired driver struck victims' car as he crossed Highway 281 on White Cloud Road

Both were passengers in a Chevy Impala that Williams struck while driving his Ford Explorer two miles north of Grand Island on April 6.

In addition to killing Findley and the unborn baby, the crash also resulted in injuries to the Impala's driver as well as three other passengers, all of whom were later transported to CHI Health St. Francis for treatment.

Accident reconstruction specialists with the Hall County Sheriff's Office determined that Williams was traveling eastbound in his Explorer on White Cloud Road when he approached Highway 281 shortly before 5:30 p.m.

Williams subsequently crossed the highway while failing to yield to the Impala carrying Findley and the woman as it was headed in a northerly direction.

NHTSA says one-third of fatal crashes involve alcohol

Williams is scheduled to be sentenced on January 23, 2024, with KSNB Local 4 noting that his two-vehicle homicide convictions each carry maximum sentences of 20 years behind bars.

A website maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that an average of 37 people are killed every day in the United States due to drunk driving, making up a third of fatal car crashes.

Drunk driving is defined as operating a motor vehicle while having a blood alcohol content of 0.08 grams per deciliter or greater.

The NHTSA reported that some 13,384 lives lost to alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2021, which represented a 14% decline from the previous year.

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