No prison time for aggravated DUI convict

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 29, 2008

The second aggravated DUI defendant sentenced after pleading guilty in Warren County Circuit Court this summer will not serve any prison time, a decision with which Assistant District Attorney Dewey Arthur said prosecutors and family members are comfortable.

Timothy Pee was sentenced by Judge Isadore Patrick Thursday to 13 years in prison, with a complete suspension if he completes a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. He will face two years of house arrest and  two years of probation and must perform 400 hours of community service.

Pee, 22, of 106 Colonial Drive, was identified as the driver of a GMC Yukon that flipped on Confederate Avenue in May 2007. When the SUV left the street, Pee’s passenger, Christopher Rawlings, who was 27, was killed in the crash and was pronounced dead at the scene. Tests later revealed Pee’s blood alcohol count was over the legal limit of .08 and he was charged, possibly facing 25 years in prison.

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He initially pleaded innocent, but stood before Patrick admitting guilt Thursday.

“We definitely feel the sentencing was fair,” Arthur said. “We agreed and the family of the victim agreed. The two were good friends; it really is a tragic story. And if he (Pee) makes any mistakes while he is under house arrest or on probation he will go straight to jail for 13 years. He has been given this opportunity; now it is up to him.”

In the same courtroom on July 24, Brandy Wallace, 26, admitted guilt to Patrick and was sentenced to 20 years in prison to be followed by five on probation for aggravated DUI. Wallace, who had a misdemeanor DUI conviction, was charged in the Nov. 5, 2007, death of John E. Parrette, an 81-year-old man who was hit and killed while checking the mailbox at his Roseland Drive home. At her sentencing, Wallace tearfully apologized to the family of Parrette, a widower. His daughters said that while the sentence would not bring their father back, it did renew their faith in the justice system.

Christoper Rawlings’ death came two years after the death of his brother, Corey Rawlings, in an Interstate 20 wreck and the death of his stepsister, Almeda Rawlings, later that same year. But, despite all they have been through, the Rawlings family, who were unavailable in person, reportedly asked the court to go easy on Pee and approved the DA’s suggested sentence.

“We just thank God for everything, and also and especially, the Rawlings family,” said Pee’s mother, Karen Pee. “Our deepest sympathies go out to the Rawlings family. Only two months after Tim’s wreck my father was killed in a fatal accident involving another driver who was high on methamphetamine. So I know. I know both sides. I know every side.”

‘Only two months after Tim’s wreck my father was killed in a fatal accident involving another driver who was high on methamphetamine. So I know. I know both sides. I know every side.’


Timothy Pee’s mother

“All of the kids involved were drinking, and Tim was the one who ended up behind the wheel,” said Pee’s lawyer, Jerry Campbell. “He had no prior DUIs or convictions and they took all that into account before recommending a sentencing.”

While under house arrest, Pee will wear a monitoring bracelet and will only be allowed to go to work, church, alcohol and drug treatment and perform his community service, something he said he looks forward to doing.

“I had an idea, as I really came to realize what had happened, that I wanted to warn other people, especially high school and colleges students, about the dangers of alcohol,” said Pee. “I will be traveling and telling everyone I can my story. It is real and it can happen to anybody. My 400 hours of community service will be spent doing that, and I think it will even go on past the 400 hours and maybe even out of the state. If I can make someone think by telling them my story, I want to do all I can.”

Vicksburg’s educator and compliance coordinator for underage drinking and Mothers Against Drunk Driving affiliate, Dean Anderson, said Pee is the perfect candidate to warn young people about the effects of alcohol abuse.

“I’ve been looking for someone who is young and has experienced something like this first hand,” said Anderson. “People are drinking and driving all over Warren County, and it’s time for people to know what can happen.”  

“It only takes one time getting behind the wheel and now he’ll have this in his heart and life forever, but he wants to do the best he can to turn this around,” said Karen Pee. “Everything happens for a reason. We can’t stop and question it we just have to learn from what we’re given.”

Pee checked into a treatment program at Warren Yazoo Mental Health Services immediately following his sentencing.

Arthur said the Pee and Wallace cases were different.

“I feel comfortable with the differences between Tim Pee and Brandy Wallace,” said Arthur. “With Pee, they were friends and the family knew that. With Wallace, she got a DUI and while awaiting punishment for that one she went out and drank and drove again and ended up killing someone. She also left the scene and Pee didn’t do that. With Wallace we had to figure out what would make her stop drinking and driving and it was different with Pee.”