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Stafford man to serve 8 years in 2019 fatal DUI crash in Spotsylvania
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Stafford man to serve 8 years in 2019 fatal DUI crash in Spotsylvania

William R. Garretson (copy)


A man who killed one man and seriously injured another while driving intoxicated in Spotsylvania County in 2019 was ordered Tuesday to serve eight years in prison.

William R. Garretson, 28, of Stafford County, was previously convicted of aggravated involuntary manslaughter and DUI-maiming in Spotsylvania Circuit Court. Judge Ricardo Rigual on Tuesday sentenced Garretson to a total of 25 years, with all but eight years suspended.

Rigual’s sentence exceeded the recommended state sentencing guidelines.

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According to the evidence, Nelson Bowler was driving west on Tidewater Trail near Slaughter Pen Farm the afternoon of Sept 2, 2019. His longtime friend, Welford Lewis Jr., was in the passenger’s seat.

Garretson was driving east when he swerved across the double yellow line and struck Bowler’s vehicle. Bowler, 61, was killed immediately and Lewis’ injuries included a shattered sternum, broken ribs and a punctured lung.

A witness told police that he’d been following Garretson and noticed him swerving into oncoming traffic. The witness said he tried to get Garretson’s attention by blowing his horn, but to no avail.

Garretson had fentanyl and marijuana in his system, court records show. He told medical personnel that he’d snorted heroin the previous night.

Garretson was apologetic in court Tuesday and expressed his remorse to the victims’ families.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

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