Editor's note: This article has been updated to correct the first name of the man injured in the wreck that led to Ben Vincent's arrest.
A former Tom Bean city council member was sentenced Wednesday to 100 days in jail and 10 years deferred adjudication after pleading guilty earlier this year to a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The sentencing took place in the 15th state District Court.
Ben Vincent was sentenced by Judge Jim Fallon on charges stemming from a July 2017 car wreck in which Vincent crashed his vehicle while impaired and injured another motorist.
The plea agreement that Vincent, 58, and his attorney Bob Jarvis reached with the Grayson County District Attorney's Office calls for the DA to drop an intoxicated assault with vehicle charge that Vincent also faced out of the same incident.
Vincent was led out of the courtroom in front of his family and friends Wednesday. He was ordered to start serving his jail sentence immediately. Fallon said Vincent would stay in jail until Friday when he could start getting work release. That will allow Vincent to be out of jail from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for the rest of the 100 days as he works at his profession in real estate.
Fallon said he wants Vincent to be able to make a living, but added that seems unfair because the man who was injured in the wreck was not able to return to his job. The judge said it was an incident that happened before the wreck that caused him to add the 100 days in jail to the deferred probation.
In court Wednesday, prosecutor Matt Rolston played a video that showed a prior incident in which a Whitewright Police officer pulled Vincent over just days before the wreck. In that video, the officer said he observed Vincent's vehicle drift into oncoming lanes as he drove through that city. That video showed Vincent admitting to officers that he drank a full bottle of wine in the three hours preceding the wreck. The footage also showed Vincent struggling to maintain his balance and incorrectly stating what month it was.
Despite Vincent's admission, the officer did not place him under arrest and instead allowed him to call for a ride home. No police report was filed, but the officer was ultimately terminated for the decision.
Fallon said that incident alone should have been enough of a wake up call for both Vincent and those around him to make sure that he never got behind the wheel of a car in that condition again. Fallon said it probably would have been better for Vincent if that officer had arrested him and it would have been better for the man who was hurt in the collision that Vincent caused just a few days later.
Elmer Stuckey testified that his sternum was broken in the wreck and he was not able to return to his job as a mechanic at a school after that. He said he had been there for seven years but had to work 10 years to get retirement. He was forced to retire without that extra income, he said in court Wednesday. Stuckey also said he still suffers pain from the wreck.
Vincent will also have to have a deep lung device put on his vehicle and will have to submit to a substance abuse evaluation and follow whatever instructions that evaluation might result in.
On the stand, Vincent apologized to Stuckey and said he had no idea that the medication he was taking was impairing him to that extent. He also said he will never again allow anyone to give him any medication without first knowing how it might affect his mind.
Vincent's wife testified that her husband had been in a deep depression following the loss of a family member and troubling health news of his own. She said he was already taking several different kinds of medication when a doctor put him on a medication for that depression. She said Vincent did 10 days in an inpatient treatment program following the wreck.
In addition to the other conditions of probation, Vincent must pay a $2,000 fine and court costs. If he fails to adhere to the rules for the probation, Vincent could face up to 20 years in prison.