A Spring man who is the son of a former active-duty serviceman stationed in Japan pleaded guilty in Houston today to intoxication manslaughter in connection with a March 2008 fatal crash.
James Lewis Yeakey was 20 at the time and partying with friends in Okinawa, federal prosecutors say, when he decided to drive for further adventures.
Likely a very bad decision, given what had been on the party's agenda up to that point, according to prosecutors:
[Yeakey and] four others purchased several bottles of alcohol, including Southern Comfort, Jack Daniels, Malibu rum and Hypnotiq to add to the bottle of Smirnoff vodka already in their possession. They also purchased Coricidin cough and cold medication with the intent of consuming it in combination with the alcohol they had purchased.
They went to a hotel room at about 7:30 p.m. and began drinking, the feds say.
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At midnight, several started making noises about going out. Some of the attendees warned them they were drunk and tried to hide any car keys, but when those people fell asleep, keys were found and used.
Approximately an hour later, the car Yeakey was driving struck a Japanese vehicle from the rear while traveling above the posted speed limit. Yeakey's vehicle then swerved into the oncoming lane of traffic and was struck on the passenger side by a Japanese truck. The collision caused the immediate death of the 16-year-old passenger seated alongside Yeakey in the front seat of the car. The collision also caused severe bodily injury to the other victim, then 18, who was in the rear passenger seat of the car.
He was tried here because Spring is his last known U.S. residence. He faces up to eight years in prison and a $250,000 fine for this conviction at his November sentencing.