An Austin County Jury on Oct. 1 convicted Billy J. Davis, 40, of driving while intoxicated and sentenced him to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
Jurors deliberated approximately 25 minutes before finding Davis guilty in the trial held before Judge Dan Leedy. The Jury then took 15 minutes to give Davis the maximum punishment.
Assistant District Attorney Ben Nystrom prosecuted Davis with help from Legal Assistant Sylvia Herrera. Austin County Attorney John Harle represented Davis.
Nystrom presented evidence that on Nov. 2, 2018, Davis drove off of FM 109 near Welcome about 11 p.m. Davis wedged his car against a fence post and passed out in the driver’s seat with the engine running.
A young woman on her way home from church stopped to assist Davis and opened his door to get him out. Davis fought off the young woman as his car started to smoke. Davis tried to drive away but his car was stuck against the fence post. He spun his tires until his vehicle caught fire. Two more good Samaritans stopped and helped pull Davis from his car just before it was engulfed in flames.
The Bleiblerville Fire Department and Industry Fire Department arrived and successfully extinguished the fire. Austin County EMS treated Davis at the scene. Davis was life-flighted to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston and suffered only minor burns and smoke inhalation. There were no other injuries.
Texas DPS Trooper Josh West investigated the crash. West secured medical records showing that Davis’s blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit.
Punishment evidence revealed Davis previously served nine years of probation for robbery in Orange County, Texas. During that probation, Davis had multiple violations, many involving drug and alcohol use and failure to participate in treatment programs.
“The Jury’s sentence sends a clear message that this dangerous behavior will not be tolerated in Austin County,” Nystrom said.
“Davis had many opportunities in his life, but only continued to endanger others with his poor decisions and criminal behavior,” Nystrom added.
“We’re grateful to everyone involved in the prosecution of this case,” District Attorney Travis Koehn said. “We’re especially thankful to the civilians that stopped to help Davis, one of whom testified at trial. These brave people had no obligation to risk their lives to save Davis but we are grateful they did.”
“We are also grateful for the Jury performing their duty. Austin County roads will be safer while Billy Davis is in jail,” Koehn added.