Area man sentenced following intoxication manslaughter death of off-duty deputy

Published 12:43 pm Thursday, June 6, 2024

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BEAUMONT — A Kountze man was sentenced to 18 years in prison in the intoxication manslaughter death of an off-duty sheriff’s deputy.

Michael Miller, 40, pleaded guilty earlier this week to the charge just prior to the start of trial in Judge Raquel West’s 252nd Criminal District court.

He opted to be sentenced by a jury.

The jury deliberated on the sentencing phase for some time on Wednesday, then returned on Thursday.

The announcement was made before noon on Thursday.

On July 10, 2022, Miller was driving a vehicle on a rural road in Fannett, when he failed to negotiate a turn while speeding, causing the vehicle to strike a drainage ditch and land on a riding lawnmower being operated by off-duty Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy James Lee.

Lee was killed on impact.