A former Juliette resident was sentenced to 12 years on probation Monday -- including a year under house arrest -- in the 2010 death of a woman in a rollover traffic crash.
Robert Allen Williams, 21, who now lives with his family in Arkansas, pleaded guilty to one count of vehicular homicide in Bibb County Superior Court. In exchange for his plea, an additional two counts of vehicular homicide and one count of serious injury by vehicle will be dismissed.
Free on bond before the hearing, Williams was taken into custody Monday. He must serve between 365 and 730 days in a probation detention center, then serve a year under house arrest wearing a GPS and alcohol monitor.
Williams was driving a Ford F-150 loaded with seven passengers during the early morning of Feb. 26, 2010, after spending the evening at Macon’s Whiskey River nightclub.
The truck crashed over a guardrail north of Hardeman Avenue on Interstate 75 just before the curve leading to Interstate 16 near the Ocmulgee River bridge.
Shannon Hendricks, 29, of Culloden, was ejected from the vehicle and died.
Prosecutor John Regan said Williams asked two motorists who witnessed the crash for a ride to his hotel room to avoid being caught by police. One of the motorists instead drove Williams and his brother to a hospital.
Regan and Williams’ attorneys proposed a plea deal at the hearing. If Williams was sentenced to any prison time, it wouldn’t be for more than five years.
Regan argued for a five-year prison sentence followed by probation.
“This is an accident that didn’t have to happen,” he said.
The defense called two witnesses to testify on Williams’ behalf.
Dr. Gordon Bush, a Houston, Texas, clinical psychologist, said he started meeting with Williams and evaluating him in December 2010 at the request of Williams’ attorney.
“Mr. Williams was having difficulty sleeping and getting the thought of the accident out of his mind,” Bush said.
He described Williams as a hard-working, shy young man who left school after the eighth grade to work at his family’s paving business.
Williams hasn’t had a drink of alcohol or tried to become intoxicated since the crash, Bush said.
Charles Floto, chairman of a GPS ankle monitor company, testified about his company’s ability to keep tabs on people who wear ankle monitors and devices that detect whether someone has ingested alcohol.
The GPS service costs $10 a day and is funded by the offender. Floto admitted he’s never monitored anyone in Bibb County.
Williams also testified and took the opportunity to apologize to Hendricks’ family.
The soft-spoken man was supported by a row of family members sitting on the defense side of the courtroom. Hendricks’ parents sat together near the front of the courtroom during the hearing.
At one point, Tony Hendricks addressed the judge and discussed his daughter’s life. She graduated from college while raising two sons, now ages 6 and 11, he said. Shannon had many friends, he said, and a caring, giving spirit.
“There hasn’t been a day to go by since February that I haven’t had her on my mind,” Hendricks said. “There aren’t enough words to describe (her). I only knew good things about her.
“I know she is a good, loving person. She was.”
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.