Plea entered in case of Fort Walton Beach deadly crash

Hilson Smith entered a plea Thursday in an Okaloosa County court. (WJHG/WECP)

OKALOOSA COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The man accused of driving through a flashing red light and killing a woman has entered a plea.

Hilson Smith was charged with DUI manslaughter, DUI causing serious bodily injury, and possession of alcohol by a person under 21.

In January 2019, Smith drove through a flashing red light at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Mary Esther Boulevard in Fort Walton Beach and hit another car. The passenger in that vehicle, Alexis Marshall, 26, died at the scene. The driver of the vehicle, Shelby Byington, 24, was seriously hurt and taken to a local hospital.

Inside Smith's vehicle was an open Four Loko and an open Busch beer in the center console. There were other beer cans, open and unopened, in the back seat area. Smith told investigators he had not been drinking that night, but blood testing showed his blood-alcohol level was .095. In Florida, a driver is considered impaired at a level of .08. Smith was also 20 years-old at the time of the crash.

Smith will be sentenced in March. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of four years in prison up to 30 years in prison.

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