Jessica Lauren Vass of Lindale was sentenced to 10 years probation and received a $10,000 fine after pleading guilty to intoxication manslaughter this past week in the 2017 deaths of two people changing a flat tire on Loop 49.
Vass, 36, pleaded guilty on Monday (Sept. 24) in 241st District Court. Jury deliberations on her punishment began on Tuesday (Sept. 25).
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, DPS troopers responded to a three-vehicle accident on Loop 49, just north of Highway 64, at around 10:20 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, 2017.
According to the crash report, a car driven by Annette Burkhart, 56, of Garland, was stopped on the southbound side of the roadway with a flat tire.
Assisting in changing the tire was Gary McCrary, 62, of Flint, who stopped his truck behind the car.
The DPS report cited a car driven by Vass was traveling southbound, struck the back of McCrary’s truck then hit Burkhart’s car, causing the vehicles to strike both Burkhart and McCrary.
Vass’s vehicle then rolled over and came to rest in the middle of the Toll 49 roadway.
McCrary was pronounced dead at the scene and Burkhart was taken to a Tyler hospital and was pronounced dead.
According to documents from the Texas Department of Transportation, Vass’s blood alcohol level was 0.148, nearly twice the legal limit.
Jury members deliberated just over five hours before returning their unanimous verdict on sentencing.
Vass will have to serve 120 days in the Smith County Jail and the remainder of her sentence with the Smith County Community Supervision and Corrections Department.
Vass had no prior felony convictions which allowed the jury to consider deferred adjudication.
A Smith County Grand Jury indicted Vass on two counts of Intoxication Manslaughter on Sept. 5, 2017. Her trial had five continuances from the court with the last one coming this past May.