Driver gets 15 years for manslaughter

Published: March 24, 2004
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Forensic evidence showed that Miller’s blood alcohol level at the time of the accident was .21, which is more than double the limit to be considered legally drunk,” said Cullman County Assistant District Attorney Wilson Blaylock. “I’m pleased with the outcome. This has been a long, drawn-out case that was delayed while we awaited forensic results from the state. It also took a while to get the accident report back from the State Troopers, but all the while we were confident we had a strong case.”

An Oakman man has been sentenced to 15 years in the state penitentiary after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the death of a Cordova teenager who died as the result of injuries sustained in a traffic accident in April 2002.

James Ray Miller, 44, was the driver of the 1971 Ford pickup truck in which 16-year-old Angela Renea Frost was a passenger the afternoon of April 24, 2002.

According to a State Trooper report, Miller was apparently driving at a high rate of speed when he lost control of his truck and crashed on U.S. Highway 31 South at Johnson’s Crossing.

Frost, who was thrown from the vehicle, was killed. A third occupant of the truck was not injured, troopers said.

“Forensic evidence showed that Miller’s blood alcohol level at the time of the accident was .21, which is more than double the limit to be considered legally drunk,” said Cullman County Assistant District Attorney Wilson Blaylock. “I’m pleased with the outcome. This has been a long, drawn-out case that was delayed while we awaited forensic results from the state. It also took a while to get the accident report back from the State Troopers, but all the while we were confident we had a strong case.”

Blaylock said no members of Frost’s family were present for the plea before Circuit Court Judge Don Hardeman.

“I have been in constant contact with them throughout the proceedings. They were aware of the plea agreement and they approved,” Blaylock said.

Miller’s attorney, Brandon Little of Cullman, was not available for comment.

Ironically, there were very nearly two fatalities that day on U.S. Highway 31 South.

Hanceville Police Capt. Steve Conner and Reserve Officer Jeremy Quattlebaum were injured in a three-car accident while en route to the Johnson’s Crossing wreck.

Conner, at the time a 13-year veteran of the Hanceville Police force, was en route to the accident scene to back up fellow officer Jeff Rainwater. He was reportedly driving with lights flashing and sirens on when another driver apparently failed to yield the right of way and pulled across the path of his patrol car on Highway 31.

As Conner reportedly swerved to avoid the vehicle, the patrol unit struck two other cars and then rolled down a 25-foot embankment, coming to rest on its side.

Quattlebaum was treated for abrasions and lacerations at a local hospital and later released. Conner’s injuries, however, were more serious.

Among Conner’s more serious injuries were multiple fractures including his pelvis, internal bleeding, a ruptured spleen and a spinal cord injury.

He would spend the next year and a half in Rehabilitation. Then, toward the end of last year, Conner was finally able to return to work with the department on a limited basis.

Jimmy Simms – The Cullman Times
Published on: 03-24-2004
Content copyright: The Cullman Times.