Man indicted on 7 charges stemming from fatal crash at road work site

By FAITH HUFFMAN, News-Telegram Crime Editor

June 24, 2008 - A blind Sulphur Springs man accused of killing two workers and injuring two others in a crash at a road construction site, then fleeing the scene, has been indicted on seven felony charges stemming from the fatal incident.

John Steven Williams of Sulphur Springs, 58 at the time of his arrest, was indicted by a Hopkins County grand jury this month on two charges each of manslaughter and aggravated assault, and on three other felony counts of failure to stop and render aid.

According to authorities, Williams, who is legally blind and does not have a valid driver's license, was driving a 2007 Dodge pickup on FM 1567 the afternoon of May 17. At a road construction area, the pickup struck a cement truck, then backed up, striking four construction workers. The pickup then ran into a trailer being pulled by another truck, then struck two of the men a second time with his truck before fleeing the scene.

Two men were pronounced dead at the scene: Bryan Keith Howell, 46, of Brady and Charles Glenn Skaggs, 41, of Sulphur Springs.

Two others were hospitalized for their injuries. James Edward Mitchell, 31, of Sulphur Springs was flown from the scene to East Texas Medical Center in Tyler for suspected internal injuries, and Travis Wade Moody, 19, of Quitman was taken to Hopkins County Memorial Hospital.

While emergency crews worked at the scene, state troopers and deputies scoured the area for the pickup. Williams was located a short time later on County Road 1116 and arrested.

Williams had drawn the attention of deputies on several occasions prior to his arrest. He was reported for driving while blind the day before the fatal crash, but deputies were unable to find him. Sheriff's deputies had also taken reports of his involvement in numerous disturbances with family members earlier this year. He had also been taken into protective custody at one point to receive medical treatment for unstable behavior, but had been released prior to the crash.

The grand jury approved indictments alleging manslaughter by recklessly causing the death of Skaggs and Howell by using his pickup to collide with the men, the indictments note.

Williams was also indicted on charges of aggravated assault of Mitchell and Moody with a deadly weapon -- the 2007 Dodge pickup.

The grand jury also approved three indictments alleging Williams failed to stop and render aid to Moody, Howell and Skaggs when it was apparent they were in need of medical treatment.

Williams has remained in jail since May 17 in lieu of bond on the charges.

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