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Repeat DWI offender sentenced to 35 years for fatal drunken driving crash

November 19, 2022

A Houston man with five prior convictions for driving while intoxicated was sentenced this week to 35 years in prison for killing another driver in a drunken driving crash in 2018, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Saturday.

“A completely innocent father of four lost his life because this man could not stop drinking and driving,” Ogg said. “When repeat offenders continue to drive drunk time after time, it means no one is safe on our streets and highways.”

Owen McNett, 50, was convicted by a jury last month, and he chose to have his punishment determined by State District Judge Lori Chambers Gray. After hearing from McNett’s defense counsel, the judge put off the punishment hearing until this week. He was sentenced late Wednesday.

McNett killed 54-year-old Wayne Childers in a drunken driving wreck about 8 p.m. on Feb. 9, 2018. McNett was driving a Ram 1500 pickup when he approached a three-way stop at Telge and Boudreaux roads in Cypress. Childers was driving a Buick Verano on Boudreaux and was trying to turn south on Telge. McNett went through the stop sign at 40 mph and T-boned the driver’s side of Childers’ car, killing Childers.

A Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputy arrested McNett at the hospital. McNett’s blood alcohol level was .31, almost four times the legal limit of .08.

McNett had been arrested for DWI five times before the crash and had three long stints in prison.

In 1992, McNett was convicted in Kimble County for DWI and put on probation. In 1996, he was arrested by Benbrook police in Tarrant County for his second DWI and sentenced to 30 days in jail. Ten years later, in 2006, he was convicted of DWI in Johnson County and sentenced to seven years in prison. In 2007, Houston police officers arrested McNett for his fourth DWI for which he received four years in prison. In November 2012, DPS troopers arrested him in McLennan County for his fifth DWI. He was given a six-year prison sentence.

He has now been convicted of felony murder, a criminal charge that allows a person to be prosecuted for murder for causing a death while committing another felony, such as Driving While Intoxicated.

Sean Teare, chief of the District Attorney’s Office Vehicular Crimes Division, prosecuted the case.

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