February 28, 2014

Arlington man convicted of intoxication manslaughter, sentenced to 30 years

Ashlee Straker, 23, was also convicted of leaving the scene of a wreck on Texas 360 in Grand Prairie, leaving behind two passengers, one of whom died.

An Arlington man with a criminal record was sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison in the death of an 18-year-old passenger who was killed in a one-car, rollover wreck in Grand Prairie in 2012.

On Thursday, a Tarrant County jury convicted Ashlee Straker, 23, of one count of intoxication manslaughter, one count of intoxication assault and two counts of failing to stop and give aid to injured people, according to a news release from the Tarrant County district attorney’s office.

Lokuekim “Jesse” Kipassa, 18, was pronounced dead at the scene of the wreck at Texas 360 and Webb Lynn Road on Nov. 21, 2012. Another passenger, Donte Pierce, was seriously injured.

Straker got a ride home from a passerby, leaving his injured friends behind, according to evidence presented during the trial.

He could have been sentenced to life in prison. Straker elected to have his sentence assessed by state District Judge Robb Catalano, who ordered him to serve 30 years on the intoxication manslaughter charge and 20 years on each of the other three counts. The sentences will run concurrently.

The three men were in a Jeep Cherokee returning from a party when Straker lost control in a construction zone. The vehicle veered off the road and struck construction barrels and a curb, and rolled several times, throwing the passengers out.

Prosecutors Brian Eppes and Tiffany Burks presented evidence that Straker had consumed alcohol, marijuana and Xanax, a tranquilizer, before he got behind the wheel, the release said.

Police found a cell phone with numerous missed calls near the wreckage. They returned the calls and got Straker’s girlfriend on the phone, the release said. The woman told police that Straker had taken her Jeep to a party hours earlier. She called officers back later and said that Straker had come home and needed help, the release said.

Straker’s blood-alcohol content was 0.07, just below the legal limit of 0.08. Toxicology tests found marijuana and Xanax, the release said.

Prosecutors also presented evidence of Straker’s prior criminal history, which include a felony conviction for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and three pending felony offenses, the release said.

This report includes material from Star-Telegram archives.

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