MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

March 16, 2013

Driver pleads out in deadly accident

He admits he passed cars in prohibited zone, causing him to hit vehicle

By Wendy Burton
Phoenix Staff Writer

— A Braggs man pleaded no contest Friday to first-degree manslaughter in connection with a fatal collision.

Billy Edward Haworth entered a blind plea before visiting Adair County District Judge Jeffrey Payton.

Haworth, 35, was accused of causing an accident that killed Hank Glass of Muskogee on Dec. 15, 2010.

Haworth was accused of passing three vehicles in a no-passing zone on Oklahoma 10. Haworth’s pickup hit another vehicle before hitting one driven by Glass —  leaving Glass pinned for 30 minutes.

Glass was taken to a hospital, where he died. It was his 40th birthday.

Glass was described in his Dec. 19, 2010, obituary as a “big teddy bear with a big heart” who loved the outdoors, deer hunting and sports. He had a wife and two children.

Haworth stated in his written plea: “I was passing cars in a no passing zone. I was unable to get back in my lane and hit Mr. Glass causing his death. This occurred on Dec. 15, 2010 in Muskogee County, Okla.”

Haworth had appeared in court to enter the blind plea in front of Payton on March 6, but Muskogee County District Attorney Larry Moore objected to Payton’s hearing the case.

Payton had dismissed Haworth’s manslaughter charge in 2011, but the state filed an appeal and the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals overturned his decision.

By entering a blind plea, Haworth agrees to take whatever punishment is handed to him. Haworth is to return to Muskogee County District Court at 11 a.m. June 5 in front of Payton for his sentencing.

First-degree manslaughter is punishable by four years to life in prison, according to Oklahoma statutes.

Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or wburton@muskogeephoenix.com.