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Man takes plea deal in fatal horse-drawn carriage crash - The Galveston County Daily News : Local News

November 27, 2014

Man takes plea deal in fatal horse-drawn carriage crash

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Posted: Saturday, October 26, 2013 12:45 am

GALVESTON — A Conroe man agreed to plead guilty Friday to killing one person and hurting three others when his car destroyed a horse-drawn carriage last year in Galveston, a prosecutor said.

Michael Shane Grayson Jr., 22, agreed to a 15-year prison sentence in the July 21, 2012, rear-end collision that killed carriage passenger Bobby McKelvey, 57, of Sugar Land, Prosecutor Bill Reed said.

Grayson appeared in Judge Kerry Neves’ 10th District Court in Galveston and accepted a plea offer of 15 years on an intoxication manslaughter charge and a maximum 10 years each on three counts of intoxication assault, Reed said. The maximum punishment on the manslaughter charge was 20 years. 

The state dismissed one intoxication assault charge, which stemmed from Grayson’s passenger, defense attorney Tad Nelson said.

After the accident, Grayson’s blood-alcohol level measured .242 percent, three times the legal limit of .08 percent, Reed said. Grayson was out on bond for a misdemeanor driving while intoxicated offense in Montgomery County at the time of the crash, Reed said.

McKelvey was riding in the carriage south on 21st Street with his wife, Renee McKelvey, and a third passenger, Holli Vowell. Joe Hodsdon operated the horse-drawn carriage and was taking the trio to a hotel on Seawall Boulevard.  

The carriage broke apart on impact at Avenue L. Galveston police accused Grayson of trying to flee the wreck scene, saying witnesses held him until officers arrived. 

A witness told The Daily News that about a quarter of the rear end of the carriage embedded in the windshield of the 2006 Infinity G35. The horse had a cut to its leg and was released to the owner at the scene. The animal was euthanized a week later.

Grayson’s sentences will run concurrently. He must serve 7 1/2 years, minus the 16 months he’s been incarcerated at the Galveston County Jail, before becoming eligible for parole, Nelson said.

“It’s a sad, sad day for the Grayson family,” Nelson said. “He’s a young kid that did irrational things. He knows it, and he’s sorry for what he did. Not a day goes by he didn’t regret what he did. He stepped up and paid the price.”

Reed was awaiting a formal sentencing date, when judgments would be entered.