TYLER, Texas (KETK) – An East Texas child sex offender was arrested after a deadly wreck late Wednesday night killed one man and seriously injured three other people.
40-year-old Gary Nichols was charged with intoxicated manslaughter after the crash on HWY 31 at 11:45 p.m. A DPS report says that Nichols was driving a 2008 Cadillac CTS about 13 miles east of Tyler.
The report states that a 1997 GMC Jimmy had broken down on the highway and that two men in the car were attempting to push it away. The driver of the Jimmy was 22-year-old Ashley Wilson. The passengers were Haley Wilson, 23, Devin Hardee, 24, and Jace Taylor, 22. All four of them were from Overton.
Hardee and Taylor were pushing the car when Nichols crashed into them, according to the report. Taylor was pronounced dead at the scene while Hardee was taken to a nearby hospital in stable condition.
Both Ashley and Haley Wilson were taken to Tyler hospitals in critical condition. Nichols was arrested at the scene after being treated.
Daniel Armbruster, with AAA Texas, said that if you find yourself in a situation where your car has broken down, do not try to push it to safety.
“You wanna turn on your safety emergency flashers if you can,” said Armbruster .
He added that the best thing you can do for yourself is to get away from the car and the road, and call for help.
According to reports, Nichols has a lengthy criminal history in East Texas, which is highlighted by him being a registered sex offender after being arrested in Rusk County. He was convicted of Indecency with a Child by Exposure in 2015 and sentenced to two years in prison.
He has been arrested numerous times in Gregg County, including pleading guilty to assault against a family member in 2004. Nichols was sentenced to one year in jail as well as 18 months probation. His probation was later revoked after being re-arrested and was sentenced to an additional 300 days in jail.
Along with being arrested for intoxicated manslaughter Wednesday night, Nichols was also charged with failing to re-register as a sex offender, which was an annual requirement.
If convicted of intoxicated manslaughter, he faces up to 20 years in prison.
“We’ve seen an increase, especially during the pandemic, we’ve seen an increase in overall risky driving behavior. That includes alcohol, and it’s an alarming trend that we are seeing. You know one drink is too many and of course we haven’t had a deathless day on Texas roadways in more than 15 years.”said Armbruster