HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - An Arkansas man was found guilty Thursday of being drunk behind the wheel during a crash that left his passenger and another driver severely injured in 2013.
It took a Harrison County jury less than two hours to find Samuel Elijah Yearber, of Pontiac, AR, guilty on two counts of felony DUI causing serious injury
According to District Attorney Joel Smith, Yearber, 34, had a blood alcohol content of 0.13 percent when he crashed into another car on the Biloxi-Ocean Springs Bridge on the morning of March 10. A toxicologist testified it would take at least seven drinks to reach that blood alcohol level.
Smith said Yearber had spent the previous night out on the town drinking with coworkers, and their last stop was a lounge inside a Biloxi casino.
According to testimony during the trial, Yearber and Maggie Sousa left the casino sometime after 3 a.m.
Yearber was behind the wheel of his Audi A4 when he rear-ended a car driven by Christopher Autmon, who was heading home from working a shift at the Palace Casino.
An accident reconstruction said Yearber was driving faster than 40 mph over the posted speed limit of 45 mph.
The impact from the crash knocked Autmon unconscious and fractured his pelvis. He had to use a walker to get around for several weeks after the crash.
"Photographic evidence in the case showed that the impact caused Autmon's Pontiac to sustain nearly seven feet of crush damage to the rear of the vehicle, pushing the rear driver's side wheel underneath the driver's seat where Autmon was seated," said Assistant District Attorney Ian Baker.
Sousa is still suffering from the effects of the crash, according to her mother, who testified during the trial.
Sousa's mother said her daughter suffered several cervical, hip and pelvic fractures and a cut carotid artery, which caused a stroke and permanent brain damage.
Sousa still lives in an inpatient rehabilitation facility, has no use of her right arm and is unable to speak without the help of a computer program due to her brain injury.
Yearber's sentencing date has been set for July 11. He faces 25 years in prison on each count.