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South Texas man sentenced to 13 years in prison for fatal Collinsville crash

Christopher Downing, 26, of Devine, Texas, is sentenced to 13 years in prison for manslaughter in a fatal Collinsville crash.
Christopher Downing, 26, of Devine, Texas, is sentenced to 13 years in prison for manslaughter in a fatal Collinsville crash.(Grayson County Jail)
Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 3:57 PM CDT
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SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) - A South Texas man has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for a fatal crash in Collinsville last summer.

Christopher Downing, 26, of Devine, Texas, pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter and three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in exchange for a sentence not to exceed 17 years in prison. On Monday, a judge sentenced him to 13 years in prison, of which he will have to serve half before he is eligible for parole.

The Grayson County District Attorney’s Office says Downing was intoxicated on July 17, 2019, when he fell asleep behind the wheel of a commercial truck on U.S. Highway 377 near Hog Town Road.

“When he woke up he panicked, and over corrected which sent the truck into a side skid and the truck impacted with a Ford F-250 that had four individuals on board,” Grayson County Assistant District Attorney Nathan Young said.

One man and two teenagers were critically injured. Brayan Armas, 13, died at the scene.

“Certainly there is no amount of time that a defendant who does something like this, whether they mean to or not, there is no amount of time that can bring that child back,” Young said.

Young said Downing told investigators he had used methamphetamine and marijuana the night before and had two beets less than an hour before the crash. A blood test showed methamphetamine in his blood.

Downing also admitted to drinking two beers less than an hour before the crash, and said he drank them because he was lost and that made him nervous.

Downing’s attorney, John Nix, said he is remorseful and has been heavily involved in AA.

“I’ve never been in the jail with him or up at any period up here where he didn’t cry uncontrollably about what he did,” Nix said.

Young said Downing has served about a year in prison, which will count toward his sentence.

“Methamphetamine and driving is never a safe combination,” Young said. “When someone decides to drive a massive commercial vehicle like an oil truck, they need to know their decision to combine drugs and alcohol comes with consequences, particularly when you end the life of an innocent child.

“Our hearts go out to the family of the victims and hope this conviction and sentence will bring them some closure. This defendant’s reckless behavior caused someone their life and forever changed a family,” District Attorney Brett Smith said.

“When you think about maybe having one or two many and coming back from a bar or something, it can be much bigger than that and unfortunately in this case the decisions the defendant made ended a little boy’s life prematurely,” Young said.

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