MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

April 4, 2013

Bond $200K after arrest in fatal crash, drug case

Muskogee man charged with manslaughter, drug possession

A Muskogee man charged with manslaughter was ordered held on $200,000 bond Wednesday after being arrested by the United States Marshals Fugitive Taskforce.

Sothea McConnell, 23, was arrested Tuesday near the U.S. 69 and Arline Street intersection, said U.S. Marshals Service spokeswoman Misty Winegardner.

McConnell was charged late Tuesday afternoon with first-degree manslaughter, as well as felony possession of a controlled dangerous substance.

His manslaughter charge stems from the Dec. 22 traffic death of Lesley Turay, 46, of Tulsa. Turay was eastbound on Oklahoma 16, a mile west of Muskogee, when the 2001 Cadillac Deville she was driving was allegedly struck by a 1997 GMC Yukon that McConnell was driving, according to an Oklahoma Highway Patrol report.

The OHP report states McConnell’s vehicle had an “odor of alcohol,” and that he was taken to St. John Medical Center in Tulsa in critical condition after the crash.

In the affidavit filed Tuesday, OHP Trooper Robert Francis, who worked the crash in December, states that McConnell had drugs in his system as well as a bag of marijuana in his right front pocket and an open container of alcohol in the Yukon’s floorboard.

The affidavit lists the drugs in McConnell’s system as:

• Benzodiazepine.

• Ketamine.

• Lidocaine.

• Midazolam.

• Phencyclidine, also known as PCP.

McConnell appeared in Special District Judge Robin Adair’s courtroom Wednesday from the jail via closed circuit television, and requested a court-appointed attorney. McConnell said his arresting officer told him he might get a bond reduction because McConnell “didn’t run” and “turned himself in.”

Court documents state McConnell was convicted of possession of controlled dangerous substance twice in 2011 — on May 18 for a misdemeanor, and Aug. 3, for a felony. McConnell was sentenced to 90 days in jail for the first conviction. The second resulted in a felony conviction, for which McConnell was given a 10-year deferred sentence.

McConnell will face a revocation hearing the same day as his preliminary hearing, 9:30 a.m. April 15, and a judge could order McConnell to spend 10 years in the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.

Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or dgoforth@muskogeephoenix.com.

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