An Oklahoma man charged with first degree manslaughter in a fatal DUI accident that claimed the life of a 15-year-old girl died last week of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
On Monday, September 27, Patrick Hughes was charged with first degree manslaughter and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He killed himself Thursday before he was ever taken into custody. Hughes's manslaughter charge came after an August 20 crash that killed 15-year-old Sara Dietz and injured her 18-year-old sister, Misty Dietz.
After the accident, Hughes was determined to have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.23, nearly three times the legal limit for DUI in Oklahoma. Additionally, authorities found that Hughes was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the collision.
In the incident, Patrick Hughes, 40, was attempting to pass a car driven by the older Dietz sister. When he saw an oncoming SUV, he attempted to swerve back into his lane, striking the Dietz vehicle and pushing it into the path of the SUV. Sara Dietz, a passenger in the car driven by her sister, died as a result of the collision, leading to Hughes's manslaughter charge in addition to charges of driving under the influence.
The DUI charge and first degree manslaughter charge were not the first in Hughes's criminal history. Patrick Hughes previously pleaded guilty to public intoxication and to transporting an open container of alcohol. Additionally, he has had four charges of domestic assault and battery.
If convicted of first degree manslaughter, Hughes would have faced a minimum of four years in prison for the offense. For more information on manslaughter defense see our homepage.