LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – A Lauderdale County man pleaded guilty and was sentenced in court for his role in a Georgia mother and child’s death.
36-year-old Ross Newton “Trey” Wooten III was charged with manslaughter in the 2019 boating crash that killed Lauren Cowart and her 5-year-old daughter, Blakely. On Thursday, he pleaded guilty to two counts of criminally negligent homicide with impairment in Lauderdale County Court.
According to the court documents, Wooten accepted a plea deal to serve 20 years concurrently to the lesser charge.
In his sentencing document, Judge Will Powell said Wooten will end up serving four years in the Department of Correction and then five years of probation.
Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly told News 19 that they offered the plea to Wooten after extensive conversations with the victim’s family.
“It was very important for the family of the victim, and for me as the prosecutor, that he actually admit guilt,” Connolly said. “We wanted to make sure that he acknowledged the fact that he was an impaired driver and that he killed two people.”
The crash happened near the area of Robbins Island on Shoals Creek in June 2019.
According to court documents, a toxicology report from the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences showed that Wooten’s blood alcohol level was 0.121, well over the legal limit of 0.08. Officials said the boat was estimated to be going around 20-25 mph at the time of the crash
Wooten was operating the boat owned by Susan Borden on that day in June. The two have been named in a lawsuit filed by Cowart’s mother and Blakely’s father.