Man pleads guilty in fatal U.S. 280 crash

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – A 27-year-old man pleaded guilty March 2 to manslaughter in connection with a two-vehicle crash in September 2011 on U.S. 280 in Chelsea.

Angel Gonzalez

Angel Gonzalez

Angel Rubio Gonzalez appeared before Shelby County District Court Judge Dan Reeves and pleaded guilty to charges of manslaughter, assault in the first degree and promotion of prison contraband.

Gonzalez was originally set to appear in court for trial on April 20, but waived his right to a trial and entered guilty pleas for each charge the afternoon of March 2.

Reeves sentenced Gonzalez to a total of 15 years in prison with 1,257 days of jail credit for time served in the Shelby County Jail before his plea.

As part of his plea deal, Gonzalez pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter instead of the original charge of reckless murder.

Gonzalez was charged after a two-vehicle crash on Sept. 24, 2011.

Authorities said then that he was traveling west on U.S. 280 when his 2002 Ford Explorer left the right side of the road and hit a parked Buick on the westbound right shoulder at about 10:20 p.m.

Patricia Ann Swindall Morris, 51, of Sterrett was killed in the crash, according to the Alabama Department of Public Safety.

Scottie Morris, 40, also of Sterrett, was a passenger in the Buick and was taken to UAB for his injuries.

During the investigation, Alabama State Troopers said driving under the influence and speed were factors in the crash.

Reeves said Gonzalez could face deportation if he is not a U.S. citizen.