In a ruling last week, an appeals court upheld the 80 year prison sentence a Parker County jury assessed to a Stephenville man for fleeing from Weatherford police for more than 20 miles in 2015.
Timothy Shawn Williams, 46, pled guilty to evading arrest or detention with a vehicle last May and elected to have a jury assess his punishment.
“Since Mr. Williams had ten previous felony convictions, he was treated as a habitual offender,” said Assistant District Attorney Jeff Swain, in a release.
Swain, who tried the case for the prosecution said Williams also had felony convictions for assaulting a peace officer, attempting to evade arrest with a vehicle, and eight drug offenses, one of which resulted in a sentence to federal prison.
“He also had misdemeanor convictions for assault family violence, evading arrest, and a number of misdemeanor drug offenses. Mr. Williams’ criminal record was quite extensive, to say the least,” Swain added.
Swain said after Williams failed to pull over on a routine traffic stop, Weatherford police contacted other law enforcement agencies to see if any had spike strips available that could be set up, but they didn’t have any luck.
“After the pursuit went on for about 20 miles at speeds of up to 94 m.p.h. on rural roads, blowing through stop signs, and driving into oncoming lanes of traffic, one specially trained officer used his patrol vehicle to try to strike Williams’ pickup and push it into a slow spin and end the pursuit,” Swain said. “However, when he did that, Mr. Williams slammed on the brakes, was only partly struck, continued around the officer’s vehicle, through a bar ditch, and took off again at high speed.”
Once Williams stopped, police found a glass pipe with a usable amount of methamphetamine inside, a used syringe, and prescription medications not prescribed to him. He was arrested for evading arrest with a vehicle, possession of a controlled substance, and two possession of dangerous drugs offenses.
In the trial, Swain introduced evidence that Williams had jumped bond twice during the pendency of the case. The first time he was at large for two months, while the second was for around 10 months.
Two Parker County probation officers also testified that Williams submitted drug tests on two occasions that showed he was using methamphetamine, a violation of his bond conditions. Williams also admitted to the probation officers he was using methamphetamine.
In his appeal, Williams claimed that several comments made by the prosecution during closing argument were improper.
After an analysis of Williams’ argument, the Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth ruled that, “there was no error in the trial court’s judgment.”
“Mr. Williams could still appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals,” said Assistant District Attorney Eddy Lewallen, who handled the appeal for the prosecution. “However, as our state’s highest criminal appeals court, they have the discretion to choose which cases they will hear. They usually pick those with novel legal issues. I don’t see anything about this appeal that is likely to be something they will want to review.”
The case was tried in the 43rd District Court, Judge Craig Towson presiding.