Big Sandy man accused of stealing truck, causing fatal crash

An affidavit says he was involved in a head-on wreck after attempting to pass another vehicle in a no-passing zone.
Published: Sep. 11, 2023 at 1:41 PM CDT
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SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - A Big Sandy man has been accused of stealing a truck and charged with intoxication manslaughter after a crash on Highway 155 North.

On Friday at about 11 p.m., DPS responded to a fatal 2-vehicle wreck on Highway 155, just south of Winona, according to an affidavit. The document states William Charles Chaplinski, 22, was traveling south when he attempted to pass another vehicle in a no-passing zone. Chaplinski struck a northbound SUV head-on, the affidavit indicates.

When a trooper arrived on scene, Chaplinski was in an ambulance being treated by EMS, and the strong odor of alcohol was allegedly notable on his breath, along with visibly bloodshot, glassy eyes. The trooper said he saw an SUV on the east side of Highway 155 with a single man inside, who had been pronounced dead. The man’s name has not been made public at this time.

The affidavit states the trooper determined Chaplinski had lost control of his mental and physical faculties due to the consumption of alcohol. A portable breath test showed a result of 0.114 g/210 L. Any result greater than 0.08 g/210 L is considered to indicate that a person is too impaired to drive safely.

Chaplinski was arrested on a charge of intoxication manslaughter with a vehicle and taken to a nearby hospital to be treated for his injuries. A blood test was also run for evidence, with a warrant. Upon release from the hospital, Chaplinski was booked into the Smith County Jail.

The affidavit claims Chaplinski was made aware of the death caused by the crash and allegedly showed no remorse towards family members.

On Saturday, police contacted the owner of the truck William Chaplinski had been driving, Willard Edwin Chaplinski, who said the vehicle had been stolen sometime between 9:45 p.m. the prior night and 7 a.m. that morning. As a result, William Chaplinski was also charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle.

Total bond for Chaplinski has been set at $600,000.