BAY ST. LOUIS -- A Kiln man has been sentenced to prison for 25 years for DUI causing the death of his passenger, 17-year-old William T. Michael Arthur, in 2010.
Jody Arthur Jarrell, 41, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Hancock County Circuit Court.
Jarrell's blood-alcohol content level was more than twice the legal limit when his 1998 Ford Ranger pickup left the road and hit a tree, District Attorney Joel Smith said.
The teen, known as Tank to friends, was a student at Hancock County High. He died in the crash July 30, 2010, off Mississippi 603 near Firetower Road.
Smith said a Mississippi Crime Lab test showed Jarrell's alcohol level was 0.21. The state's limit is 0.08.
Judge John Gargiulo imposed the sentence after the plea and suspended five years, leaving 20 to serve plus five years of post-release supervision. Gargiulo also ordered Jarrell to complete the Mississippi Department of Corrections' long-term alcohol and drug treatment program.
Smith said Jarrell apologized in court to the teen's family, saying, "I am sorry. If I could bring that boy back, I would."
The teen's grandmother said she is trying to forgive Jarrell and is glad he is taking responsibility for his actions, said Smith, who called the death a tragedy.
"Poor decisions on the part of the defendant resulted in the unfortunate death of a young man whose life had just begun," Smith said.
Jarrell had come to Kiln from Nevada and was friends with the teen's family.
A witness to the 7:16 p.m. crash told officers the pickup left the road and didn't slow down as it headed for pine trees, said ADA Chris Daniel, who prosecuted the case.
Jarrell and Arthur were not wearing seat belts, according to the Mississippi Highway Patrol.
Jarrell was hospitalized and later was indicted but couldn't be found. The MHP asked for help to find him.
The U.S. Marshals Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force found him in Lafourche Parish, La., as he was boarding a boat for his job offshore.