Smith County Man Sentenced To 16 Years For Intoxication Manslaughter

More than three years after being involved in a deadly motorcycle crash, a Smith County man is sentenced to 16 years in prison.  John Carter, 42, was found guilty of intoxicated manslaughter.  Carter's passenger, Johnna Jerger, 40, was killed when Carter lost control of his motorcycle.

After the sentence, Jerger's friends spoke with KLTV 7 News about the end to their long wait for justice.  "I just would like to say on behalf of Johnna's parents, that justice has been served," said Cynthia Axtell, Johnna's friend.

Carter was handcuffed and taken to the Smith County jail.  Three years ago, when Carter crashed his motorcycle, his blood alcohol was nearly twice the legal limit.  "His blood alcohol concentration was at a .146," said Smith County assistant district attorney Joe Murphy.  Jerger, his passenger, hit a telephone pole, then got tangled in barb wire.

Jerger's parents were unable to attend the sentencing, but Axtell, a close friend, did call to give them the news. "Her reaction was that they did a good job, the jurors did," said Axtell.

Also at the sentencing, a representative from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, there to give support, and to also send a message.  "One of the things that is clear is that the driver's also the responsibility and the accountability for the passenger and unfortunately, Carter did not at any point during the trial take any accountability for his actions," said MADD victim services specialist Melissa Granberry.

Jerger's friends it was upsetting that Carter never apologized for the pain he caused, but with this behind them, they say the family can begin to heal.  Carter must serve at least eight years in prison before he's eligible for parole.

Oralia Ortega, Reporting.