Pleads not guilty

A Royse City woman has pleaded not guilty to an indictment on a charge of intoxication manslaughter.

A Royse City woman has pleaded not guilty to an indictment on a charge of intoxication manslaughter.

Megan E. Smith is charged in connection with a fatal crash in July that killed a state appeals court judge.

Smith, 32, was believed to have been intoxicated when she drove the wrong way and caused the three-vehicle crash on Interstate 30 in Royse City, which resulted in the death of Fifth District Court of Appeals Justice David Bridges of Rockwall.

The Hunt County grand jury issued the indictment in September.

Smith entered the plea on Dec. 16 during a hearing in the 354th District Court. Judge Keli Aiken accepted the plea and scheduled an interim hearing to receive discovery evidence on Jan. 21

Smith remained in custody in the Hunt County Detention Center Tuesday, being held in lieu of $150,000 bond as on the charge, a second-degree felony, punishable upon conviction by a maximum sentence of two to 20 years in prison and an optional fine of up to $10,000.

Smith was also being held in the jail on two additional charges filed by the Royse City Police Department; one count of possession of a controlled substance Penalty Group 1A, in an amount of less than 20 actual units, with a $10,000 bond, and one count of possession of marijuana less than two ounces, which carried a $750 bond. Penalty Group 1-A includes LSD as well as any of its salts, isomers and salts of isomers.

A statement from the Royse City Police Department indicated the wreck occurred at around 9:30 p.m. July 25 on westbound Interstate 30 near FM 2642. Smith was reported to be driving the wrong way in the westbound lanes of the interstate and struck two vehicles, one of which was driven by Bridges. Bridges’ vehicle caught fire and he was pronounced deceased at the scene. The driver of the second vehicle was uninjured. Smith was transported to a local hospital with minor injuries.

Bridges was elected to Place 6 on the appeals court in 1996 and had filed to run for re-election to the post.

Rockwall attorney John G. Browning was chosen Aug. 15 in a vote by the Republican Party county chairs and precinct chairs of the six counties in the Fifth Court of Appeals’ jurisdiction to replace Bridges as the Republican nominee for the spot on the court and won the position outright in the Nov. 3 election.

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