An Oklahoma teenager was sentenced last week following his conviction on two counts of first-degree manslaughter and one count of leaving the scene of an accident after a June 2011 DUI accident that left a man and his infant son dead.
Charged With Murder
Kenton Hannah, 19, of Verdigris, pleaded no contest to the charges in April. He has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for each manslaughter count and one year for leaving the scene of an accident, with all sentences to be served concurrently. Hannah was convicted following a fatal DUI accident in Claremore, Oklahoma, on June 17, 2011.
Witnesses say that Hannah, who was 18 at the time of the accident, was involved in a minor accident shortly before the fatal collision. He left the scene and begin fleeing on the wrong side of the street, headed northbound in a southbound lane.
At approximately 5:00 a.m., Hannah's truck collided head-on with an SUV driven by 21-year-old Ginger Watkins and containing her husband Eric, 21, and infant son Bryor, 7 months, as passengers. Hannah's vehicle struck the Watkins' on the passenger side, killing Eric and Bryor, and sending Ginger to the hospital. Hannah was found to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.26, more than three times the legal limit.
One responding police officer testified that he heard Hannah say at the scene, "I'm sorry. I didn't realize I was so drunk." Prosecutors urged Rogers County District Court Judge J. Dwayne Steidley to give Hannah the maximum sentence, pushing for thirty years in prison.
Hannah's lawyer, however, requested a lighter sentence, pointing to Hannah's youth and saying that he could serve as an example to other young drivers, working to prevent DUI. In the end, Judge Steidley decided on a twenty year sentence for the young man held responsible in the DUI deaths of another young man and his infant son.
DUI's in Oklahoma
Between 2007 and 2010, Oklahoma saw an average of nearly 240 DUI fatalities each year. These types of accidents are entirely preventable if drivers choose not to drive after drinking. With thousands of alcohol-related crashes each year in the state, it is clear that not all Oklahomans are getting the message.
If you find yourself under arrest for DUI in Oklahoma, consider it a wake-up call and contact a DUI defense attorney who can help you get your life on track. Kenton Hannah will be spending the majority of his young adult life behind bars, and Eric and Bryor Watkins had their lives tragically cut short. Do not let the same thing happen to you; do not drink and drive.