Kirbyville woman indicted on three counts of manslaughter, one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon
A Hardin County grand jury has indicted 40-year-old Crystal Lummus Boyett, of Kirbyville, on three counts of manslaughter — for the deaths of 21-year-old Connely Rene Burns, her unborn son, Tyson, and Burns’ 15-year-old sister, Courtney Ray Sterling — and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for injuries the girls' mother, Dawn Sterling, sustained in a Feb. 3 collision on Highway 69 in Lumberton. All charges are second-degree felonies.
Hardin County District Attorney David Allen Sheffield said, if convicted on all counts, Boyett would face probation to 20 years in prison. The charges would be concurrent vs. consecutive. Sheffield said he was pursuing intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault charges against Boyett, which would allow the DA’s office to stack the sentences against her, therefore, requiring her to serve sentences consecutively.
Police found a bottle of prescription Xanax in Boyett’s Camaro, Lumberton Police Chief Danny Sullins told The Examiner in February.
Boyett’s toxicology results did not produce the results prosecutors were hoping for, however, Sheffield said.
“We wanted to try to pursue that, but the results did not allow us to file intoxication (manslaughter and assault),” he said.
The district attorney was also reluctant to file murder charges against Boyett, he said, because he didn’t have enough evidence to prove that the crash was intentional.
“We don’t have any evidence to show that there was intent to kill,” Sheffield said. “If we try to charge her for murder and we cant show that, what happens if she walks? That would be the only result if we tried her for murder. She would totally beat those charges. We’re not going to allow her to get away with this.”
Boyett posted a $1.5 million bond in June after spending four months in jail. Although she is currently out on bond, a new warrant was issued for Boyett’s arrest for the additional charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, Sheffield said.
Boyett surrendered to Hardin County Sheriff’s deputies Thursday night, August 21. Justice of the Peace Butch Cummings was scheduled to arraign Boyett in jail Saturday, August 23.
Charges will total $2 million in bonds.
Details of collison
Feb. 3, 2014 around 8 p.m., Silsbee Police contacted Hardin County Sheriff’s Office and advised the dispatcher that they had received a call from Jasper County Sheriff’s Office that a red Chevrolet Camaro was traveling south on Highway 69 at well over 100 mph, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by The Examiner. HCSO then contacted Lumberton Police, who were working a minor accident on Highway 69 and Walden Road. Lumberton Police officer Ryan Hargrove observed the Camaro approaching and was able to check the vehicle on radar at 121 mph. He activated his emergency lights and attempted to catch up with the vehicle, but by the time he reached Highway 69 and West Chance Cutoff he could no longer see the Camaro and requested HCSO notify Beaumont Police.
At that time, Lumberton Police Sgt. Chad Wilson who was on Highway 69 South looked in his rearview mirror and observed Boyett approaching in her Camaro. Wilson witnessed the Camaro violently crash in to the rear of the white Nissan Murano, driven by 15-year-old Courtney Ray Sterling. Twenty-one-year-old Connely Rene Burns and the girls’ mother, Dawn Sterling, were passengers in the Murano.
“From the point of impact to where the vehicles came to a stop was over 570 feet,” an affidavit prepared by Lumberton Police Capt. Forrest Cobb states. “Car parts, glass and personal items from inside the vehicle were scattered over a very wide area. I have been a police officer for over 24 years and have investigated numerous motor vehicle crashes. Based on the physical evidence at the scene and witness statements it is my belief that the defendant was recklessly driving at a very high rate of speed when she struck and killed the three victims.”
According to PublicData.com, Boyett was found guilty of driving while intoxicated in 1995 in Fort Worth. She received 2 years probation.