Texas drunk driver gets 30-year prison sentence for fatal hit and run accident

By Calvin Palmer

A Texas drunk driver was today sentenced to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty in the death of a 13-year-old girl.

John Jacob Winne, 32, was drunk when he ran three stop signs in his white Lexus, hit the school bus Nicole Lalime was exiting and ran the girl over on December 16, 2008, at the intersection of Lynn and East Cypress Forest in Houston.

Sate District Judge Joan Campbell sentenced him to 30 years in prison for intoxication manslaughter and 10 years for failure to stop and render aid. The sentences will run concurrently. Winne will have to serve at least 15 years, before he is eligible for parole.

Winne’s attorney, Sean McAlister, said his client was remorseful.

“This is a tragedy,” McAlister said. “But I want people to know he’s not a monster. He’s just not that way.”

No. He is not a monster by any means. Winne is just one of a growing number of selfish, stupid and inconsiderate people who think that the laws of any given state do not apply to them. He already had two previous DUI convictions and clearly had not learned his lesson. For Winne and his ilk, and they are in every community in the United States, it is all about having a good time and to hell with the consequences.

If Winne was not drinking at home and alone before he set out in his vehicle, the people he was drinking with and those supplying with him alcohol are, in my opinion, guilty of aiding and abetting the death of Lalime. They knew how much Winne had drunk and that he intended to drive a vehicle. What was stop any of them from persuading him to stay put or call a taxi? And if he became belligerent, the police could have been called.

It appears that the good-time mentality hypnotizes people and makes them forget their responsibility not only to themselves but also others. But for them others, outside their boozy circle, simply do not count.

A good many people will read this story and say to themselves: “There but for the grace of God go I.” Perhaps, the sentence handed down to Winne will give them pause for a sobering thought about their behavior. The tragedy might register for a nanosecond before the cry goes out, “Same again, barman.”

[Based on a report by the Houston Chronicle.]

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5 responses to “Texas drunk driver gets 30-year prison sentence for fatal hit and run accident

  1. chirpchirp

    Its infuriating how many drivers think they can handle the distraction of using a cell phone while driving. I can’t believe it when people assume they can safely drive a car while drunk or on a phone. There are many programs out there that educate drivers on precautions that should be taken, dangers to be prepared for, and training to be better equipped.

  2. The Other Mother

    Mr. Palmer – I happen to be the mother of John and before you go writing fictional stories about someone – get ALL the facts. Not just the sentimental ones. It is truly sad that a life was lost that day but how it was lost was never TRULY portrayed. There were others that shared in the accident that day. However, John chose not to fight to prove his innosence because after he realized what had happened he said he deserved to be punished. We had proof that he was NOT DRUNK at the time of the accident and proof the other vehicle impacted his car which caused his car to hit Nicole (whom he never seen). Why would a bus driver let a child off at an intersection that had over 100 violations for running the stop signs located there? Whay would a bus driver proceed through an intersection IF a vehicle at a high rate of speed was coming towards her?
    I too have a crusade – it is a crusade for justice. So get the facts right when you have a story – there was only 1 (one) stop sign Mr. Palmer.

    • calvininjax

      If he was not drunk at the time of the accident, how come he was found guilty of intoxicated manslaughter?

      If your premise is true, surely he would have been found guilty of manslaughter.

      I take it you also have proof that he wasn’t drunk on the two previous occasions that he was found guilty of DUI?

      I rest my case.

      • The Other Mother

        Again, Mr. Palmer, get your facts straight. There were not 2 other DUI convictions. My son admitted that he was drinking but the intox expert had the proof to show that he was not intoxicated at the time of the ACCIDENT. John is the type of person who would have taken his own life if he had seen Nicole. We did not have the funds to fight. Unlike the other side who has MADD and senators to fight their case for them. I am sad for all the families involved but for the media to blunder untruths is unjust.

  3. the daughter

    Please don’t say hurtful things about him. Hes my dad. It was bad enough I could hardly see him before he was in jail. Now I can only see him less than once a month. If the girl he hit wanted him to have a second chance then let him have one. Please all you haters out there don’t put anything mean. She wanted him to have a second chance so help get him out so he can have a seccond chance. Please for her. 🙂

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