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Local man convicted of intoxication assault; sentencing today

July 11, 2012

A Big Spring man was found guilty of intoxication assault in 118th District Court Tuesday for his part in the June 20, 2011, traffic accident which nearly claimed the life of a passenger in the vehicle he was driving.

Wesley James Shoup, 44, of 800 W. Marcy No. 22 or 4016 Vicky, was indicted April 12, 2012, by a Howard County grand jury on a third-degree felony charge of intoxication assault.

According to court records, Shoup was traveling in his 1997 Chevrolet pickup truck westbound on Hughes Road between 10:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. with local resident Matthew Fowler when he failed to stop at a stop sign. His pickup hit a tractor trailer, causing it to roll twice.

Shoup is believed to have been in the area — located south of Big Spring — in hopes of seeing a massive wildfire.

Fowler was seriously injured in the traffic accident, suffering permanent neurological damage, according to Howard County District Attorney Hardy Wilkerson, who represented the state in the case.

“It's unclear exactly why Matthew Fowler got into the pickup with Shoup, but what is clear is he was not intoxicated,” Wilkerson said. “Shoup, however, had been drinking since that afternoon. Because he was intoxicated he became disoriented and went through the stop sign, striking the tractor trailer.

“Intoxication assault is the same thing as intoxication manslaughter, it simply doesn't result in death. Intoxication assault comes from a charge of driving while intoxicated which results in the serious bodily injury of another person.”

According to Wilkerson, Fowler suffered grievous injuries to his right arm, which was nearly severed during the accident, as well as severe head trauma.

“The jaws of life had to be used to extract Fowler from the vehicle. At first, those on the scene weren't sure he was alive,” Wilkerson said. “His right arm was nearly severed in the crash and he suffered neurological damage and permanent cognitive loss as a result of the crash. This young man was hospitalized at different facilities for three to six months after the accident.”

Shoup was found guilty by the jury following approximately 25 minutes of deliberation.

The punishment phase of the trial is expected to get under way this afternoon. Shoup faces between two to 10 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000.

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