From a friend of Tom's who was in court on the day of the sentencing of Dustin Poe:
On January 13th, 2010, in Harris County Criminal Court 337, Dustin Poe was sentenced to 9 years for the drunk driving incident
that resulted in a crash that killed Tom Jones in front of the Art Car Museum
during Art Car Weekend 2008. Poe had already entered a guilty plea, and had
asked the judge to pick the sentence. The range could have been incarceration
for a period of anywhere between two years and twenty, and a fine of up to
$10,000. The prosecutor believes Poe's attorneys will not appeal, although they
will have 30 days to change their minds. Poe must serve at least half of his
sentence before being considered for parole.
The art car community and Tom's family and other friends filled the
courtroom to the point that, in the morning, several people had to wait in the
foyer for seats to become available.
There were cameras from at least three different TV affiliates covering the
courtroom today, plus a newspaper reporter and a photographer. Here are the
online articles I've found so far. One of the cameras had a KTRK logo but the
other two were generic. Perhaps the other affiliates will post video online
after tonight's late news.
Probably one factor in the comparatively light sentence is that his lawyers
addressed him having substance abuse problems beginning at age 13, and that
despite at least two prior arrests stemming from his alcoholism, he had not
sought treatment until after he killed Tom, but has entered a program and been
alcohol-free since he sobered up after the wreck (which probably was also
required by prior court order).
Please consider the lesson offered by this tragedy. If you drink, don't
drive. If your friend drinks and attempts to get behind the wheel, take his or
her keys away.