Special to the Grove Sun
MIAMI - An Ottawa County man charged with first-degree manslaughter in connection with a drunken driving wreck that killed a 15-year-old girl has taken his own life.
Patrick Hughes, 40, of Miami, OK, died Thursday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, said Cherokee Ballard, state medical examiner’s spokeswoman. His body was found in a building behind his house.
Hughes was charged Monday in Ottawa County in the death of Sara Dietz, 15, of Wyandotte.
A bench warrant was issued Monday for his arrest but he never had been taken into custody.
Hughes had a 0.23 blood-alcohol level, almost three times the legal limit, when the wreck happened Aug. 20. He also was under the influence of marijuana when his vehicle hit the car carrying Dietz, according to court documents.
Dietz died at the scene.
She was a passenger in a car driven by her sister, Misty Dietz, 18, also of Wyandotte. Misty Dietz was westbound on State Highway 10, about four miles east of Miami, when Hughes’ vehicle attempted to pass her car, an Oklahoma Highway Patrol report stated.
Hughes pulled back into his lane after seeing an oncoming sport utility vehicle and struck the Dietz car, pushing it into oncoming traffic.
That caused the car driven by Misty Dietz to crash head-on with the SUV, the report states. She survived but her sister did not.
Hughes had a criminal history that included four domestic assault and battery charges.
In 2003, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of public intoxication and transporting an open container of beer.