Tyler man gets 18 years for crashing vehicle into home

Tyler man gets 18 years for crashing vehicle into home
Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 3:15 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 10, 2023 at 8:12 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - A Tyler man was given prison time after pleading guilty to crashing his vehicle through a living room wall.

Nathaniel Williams, 19, of Tyler, was arrested in July 2021 on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon when he crashed a 2016 Toyota 4-Runner through the front living room wall of a house. However, investigators learned that while Williams intentionally crashed the vehicle, he did so to a house other than the one intended, as Williams apparently meant to commit the act to a house where he understood his ex-girlfriend, Jennifer Contreras to be at the time. One of the house’s occupants was injured in the crash.

Williams pleaded guilty to the aggravated assault charge.

Contreras was the first witness called by prosecutors during Tuesday’s sentencing hearing. Contreras said she and Williams began to date in high school and then moved in together at Williams’ parents’ house after she became pregnant. She described Williams as “nice and sweet” but that her eventual miscarriage “took a big toll on him.”

“He didn’t know how to take it and he acted real different than what he was,” Contreras said. She said that Williams turned abusive verbally and sometimes physically and she ultimately broke up with him in July 2021.

Then, on July 25, 2021, Contreras said they were talking on the phone while she was at the house of two friends. Contreras stated she believed Williams was intoxicated and told him to go home, but he continued calling her because he was mad she was with two male friends. Contreras said Williams threatened to hurt her, to which her friends responded, “You can come over here and fight it out.”

Contreras testified that Williams then threatened to come to her house and run over her 1-year-old nephew. She said she then told him to come to the house she was at instead of her home because Williams was threatening her family. She testified that Williams said he was going “to take my life and take yours with mine.”

Contreras said that later she saw Williams drive past the house she was at and then heard a big boom and saw his car was inside the house next door.

The defense then began questioning Contreras, at which point she confirmed she knew Williams had mental illness issues.

The defense then accused Contreras of encouraging Williams to come over and fight, stating that law enforcement did not have all of the messages in the exchange because the two communicated through Snapchat, which automatically erases messages. The defense said Contreras’ friends were making “sex sounds” on the phones trying to disturb Williams.

The state then called Aramis Cash, the homeowner who was injured on his couch when Williams drove the 4-Runner into the living room. He testified that his legs were injured in the incident and that he had to see a counselor in the wake of the incident to receive PTSD treatment and training. Cash said that he would wake up every 15 minutes and loud noises affect him.

“I’m forever changed,” Cash said. He also testified that his wife and son received counseling and that his son regressed in his potty training after the incident.

The defense called Williams’ mother, Marsha, who testified that her son has “many mental health illnesses,” including Tourette’s, anxiety, ADHD, dyslexia, OCD. She said at 12 years old he was diagnosed as being on the Autism spectrum.

Marsha Williams said her son would sleep for “all day, every day” following his breakup with Contreras and that he was already scheduled to see a psychologist just days after the incident happened. She said Nathaniel was “institutionalized” after the incident and that her son is “making steps to be better.” Marsha Williams also said she does not believe the investigation into the incident was thorough and that Contreras’ messages to her son were not properly vetted.

On cross examination by the state, Marsha Williams was asked if, given her son’s mental health issues, he could make decisions discerning right from wrong.

At the end of the hearing, Judge Jackson sentenced Williams to 18 years in state prison.


+ Report: Tyler man targets wrong house with intentional crash

+ Tyler man sleeping on couch injured by car crashing into living room