Texas prosecutors charged Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent with intoxication manslaughter Saturday after he flipped his car in a pre-dawn accident that killed his teammate Jerry Brown.
Irving police allege that the accident happened around 2:20 Saturday morning in the Dallas suburb, just hours before Brent and his teammates were to be on a team flight to Cincinnati for the Cowboys’ game Sunday against the Bengals. Brent was to start the game on defense for the Cowboys.
Brown was a practice-squad linebacker who also was Brent’s teammate for three seasons at the University of Illinois. Brown was unresponsive at the scene and pronounced dead at a local hospital.
The pair had been with several other teammates who spent Friday evening at a Dallas club where comedian Shawn Wayans performed.
After bonding out of jail, Brent released this statement Saturday night through his agent, Peter Schaeffer:
“I am devastated and filled with grief,” the statement reads. “Filled with grief for the loss of my close friend and teammate, Jerry Brown. I am also grief-stricken for his family, friends and all who were blessed enough to have known him. I will live with this horrific and tragic loss every day for the rest of my life. My prayers are with his family, our teammates and his friends at this time.”
In order to prove intoxication manslaughter in Texas, the prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Brent operated a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated, and by reason of that intoxication, caused the death of Brown. Intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony, with a punishment range of 2 to 20 years in prison, and carries a maximum fine of $10,000.00.
Texas prosecutors tend to aggressively prosecute intoxication manslaughter cases, and will often seek long prison sentences. Prosecutors will often file a “deadly weapon” allegation in the indictment, which can have serious repercussions with regard to a defendant being eligible for parole.
Probation is also a possible resolution to the case. The disposition of the case, whether prison time or probation, will often depend on the sentiments of the victim’s family. Probation sentences tend to carry a multitude of conditions which include a fine, community service, driving restrictions, and even jail time as a condition of probation.
This weekend marked the second straight week the NFL found itself dealing with a tragedy involving the death of a player.