A Big Spring man found guilty of intoxication assault in 118th District Court was sentenced to four years in state jail Wednesday.
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.
Shoup was found guilty of the lone count Tuesday in 118th District Court by a jury consisting of six men and six women, pushing the trial into punishment phase Wednesday. The same jury sentenced Shoup to four years in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice facility. No fine was assessed.
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 â€” located south of Big Spring â€” in hopes of seeing a massive wildfire that was burning in the area.
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.
â€śIt's unclear exactly why Matthew Fowler got into the pickup with Shoup, but what is clear is he was not intoxicated,â€ť Wilkerson said. â€śShoup, however, had been drinking since that afternoon. Because he was intoxicated he became disoriented and went through the stop sign, striking the tractor trailer.
â€śIntoxication 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.â€ť
Wilkerson said Fowler suffered neurological damage and permanent cognitive loss as a result of the crash and was hospitalized between three to six months at different facilities following the crash.
The jury delivered the sentence after more then two hours of deliberation, according to court officials.