Nick Ward accident driver to face charges

Tayler Critchlow

The charges that face Benjamin Williamson, the driver involved in the accident that led to Nick Ward’s death, have changed from severely injuring a victim to manslaughter of a victim by vehicle.

There has been an ongoing investigation into the Feb. 8 accident, and Williamson blew a .136 in a Breathalyzer two hours after the accident, according to the police report.

“This is an ongoing investigation and, with our caseload, it is normally anywhere six months to a year for us to actually close the case,” Trooper William Batts, Georgia State Patrol Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team trooper in charge of the investigation, said.

“We are just trying to prove that he was the one involved in the vehicular homicide, and we just have to have a strong enough case to pass and go to trial, so we just present it to the district attorney office and they go from there,” Batts said.

The judge or the person presiding over the case determines the sentence, but even for serious injury by vehicle cases, there is normally a jail term, Batts said.

After the investigation has been closed, the case will then be turned over to the District Attorney’s Office and a date will be set for the trial, Batts said.

“The DA will ultimately determine the charges, but we haven’t gotten a completed case file yet,” Michael Muldrew, attorney with the Statesboro District Attorney’s office, said.

Williamson will not be sentenced until after the trial, which will be set after the investigation has been closed.

“We leave no stone unturned. We look at it from several different angles, and we try to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt this is what happened. It could not have happened this way, it could not have happened that way,” Batts said.

Batts said, “Right now it is just basically gathering information, seeing if we have any witnesses, seeing if there is anything as far as video evidence, again witness something, someone saw this or someone heard this, anything with that regard, anything that can help strengthen our case.”