ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – A suspect found guilty of killing Abilene community leader Mark Rogers in an intoxicated driving crash has been sentenced to life in prison.
The same jury who convicted James A. Wells for Intoxicated Manslaughter and Aggravated Assault gave him the life sentence Friday morning.
He received a life sentence for the Intoxication Manslaughter charge and a 75-year sentence for the Aggravated Assault charge. However, the sentences will run concurrently, meaning they will start at the same time, for a total of a life sentence. He did not receive fines but will have to pay court costs at a later date.
Report: Driver who caused crash that killed Abilene leader Mark Rogers was traveling at least 127 mph
Rogers was killed when Wells’ Dodge Challenger slammed into the back of Roger’s pickup truck on Hwy 36 March 13, 2021. His wife and three children were also involved but survived, two of the children with serious injuries.
One motorist who rendered aid described seeing a child ejected in a field near the truck. They saw Rogers was dead and heard his wife screaming for help.
“The effort our Traffic Division has put into this investigation is impressive. I want to thank our Traffic investigators, and more specifically, Traffic Investigator Tyson Kropp for helping secure this arrest,” Abilene Police Chief Marcus Dudley said. “My hope is that the arrest will bring peace of mind to the Rogers family, and our community, that suspected irresponsible behavior has consequences.”
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Court documents reveal Wells was traveling at least 127 miles per hour while under the influence of tranquilizers when he slammed into the back of the Rogers’ truck, causing it to veer into a tree.
Investigators got a warrant for data from the Dodge Challenger following the crash, which showed it was traveling in excess of 125 miles per hour, and further analysis confirmed the speed was at least 127 miles per hour, and the speed of impact with the Rogers’ truck was 112 miles per hour.
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Witnesses also report seeing Wells driving at a high rate of speed.
Wells was hospitalized following the crash, and when questioned, the documents state he claimed he was only traveling 45 miles per hour and said he was driving in a different direction than the crash.
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His blood was drawn and lab results from the Texas Department of Pubic Safety returned a presumptive positive for benzodiazepines.
Rogers was a prominent leader in the Abilene community, serving as Market President for Big Brothers Big Sisters Abilene for five years, where his work touched countless lives.
Mark was a graduate of Abilene Christian University. He is survived by his wife and three children.