George Powers has pleaded guilty in court today to Intoxication Manslaughter and two counts of Intoxication Assault. Powers was given 20 years behind bars for the Intoxication Manslaughter count, and 10 years for each Intoxication Assault charge, to be served concurrently.
The proceedings come nearly 14 months after he was involved in an accident that claimed the life of a Texoma woman, and sent two others to the hospital.
Josh Siple, one of the wreck victims spoke to Newschannel 6. The 23 year old had just purchased a house with his wife, Nicole, when the wreck happened. He spent 6 months in the hospital, and currently resides in a nursing home while he recovers. Before the wreck, he graduated school a year early. Now, he faces significant impairments and is confined to a wheelchair.
He's heartbroken over losing his soul mate. "Nicole was sweet, she did everything for me," he said. He wishes Powers' punishment had been much more. "I'd choke him to death and back," he half-joked.
Nicole's dad, Pete Dobbs hopes that something good comes out of the tragedy. "No matter what happens in a court decision, it wont bring my daughter back... Maybe in some way his drinking will inspire someone to not drink and drive," he said.
Josh also hopes drivers will take the lesson to heart. "So this wont happen... please call someone you know," he pleaded.
The memories from two years prior to the wreck are still gone, but as he works to recover, he remembers the love of his life - stolen in an instant - by Power's actions. "I loved my wife and he took her away from me," he said.
Josh has racked up $1M in medical bills since the wreck. He lost his home, assets and all his money. The bills continue to add up. If you would like to help, there is a fund in his name. The contact information is below.
FOR THE BENEFIT OF JOSHUA SIPLE
ATTN: CONNIE ROSS
COMMUNITY AND SOUTHERN BANK
5 MAIN STREET OR PO BOX 778
WINDER GA 30680
Officials said on July 17, 2010, Powers was driving the wrong way on U.S. 287 on the Wilson Overpass. His truck slammed into an SUV. Diann Nicole Siple was pronounced dead at the scene. Her husband, 22-year-old Joshua Siple, and family friend 22-year-old Tiffany Thompsen were taken to United Regional.
Funeral services for Diann Nicole Siple were held at 1:00 p.m., Wednesday, July 21, 2010, at West Side Baptist Church with the Rev. Harvey McMurry, Chaplain of Hospice of Wichita Falls, officiating. Interment followed at Crestview Memorial Park under the direction of Owens & Brumley Funeral Home of Wichita Falls.
Siple worked at WDS Global in Wichita Falls. She was preceded in death by her mother, Janella Rambo.
Thompsen was released after being treated, but Joshua Siple spent days in a coma. He was unable to attend his wife's funeral.
Joshua Siple's injuries were substantial and he will need rehabilitation. He is in a rehab center in Wichita Falls.
Blood samples were taken, and lab tests were conducted. The toxicology report said Powers' blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit.
"George Powers was charged with three counts. One is intoxication manslaughter in the case of Diann Siple and also intoxication assault in the case of the two passengers also injured during the same accident ," said Clay County District Attorney Jack McGaughey.
Authorities say Powers was first set to head to court in May 2011, but the trial was pushed back. A Grand Jury met in July and delivered an indictment. "It's a maximum 20 year case so the maximum penalty would be 20 years in the penitentiary," said McGaughey.
Intoxication manslaughter is a second degree felony. George Powers has no previous run-ins with the law.
The trial was held in the 97th District Court in Clay County. The Honorable Judge Roger Towery, presiding.