Originally created 02/07/98

Drunken driver receives prison term of five years



A Hephzibah man who caused a drunken-driving crash that seriously injured several people will spend five years in prison, then 15 years on probation.

On Friday in Richmond County Superior Court, Judge Albert M. Pickett agreed to accept a plea bargain in the case of Willie Eugene Walker, 23.

A week before, Judge Pickett refused to accept the plea bargain, which would have limited Mr. Walker to a six-year sentence.

Mr. Walker was charged with driving under the influence and four counts of causing serious injury by a vehicle in connection with an early-morning crash March 8.

Mr. Walker admitted Friday he was driving the 1979 Cadillac north on Twigg Street when it crossed the center line and crashed into a 1992 Nissan driven by Sharon Broadnax. After the accident, at different times, two passengers in Mr. Walker's vehicle also claimed they were driving the car.

Broken bones and brain damage were among the injuries Ms. Broadnax and her passengers suffered, and from which they are still recovering. Judge Pickett estimated the medical bills would total more than $500,000.

On Friday, Mr. Walker pleaded guilty to DUI and four counts of serious injury by vehicle. After spending five years in prison, he will be on probation for 15 years and must support his five children, Judge Pickett ordered.