Hauer banned from driving

Published 10:47 am Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Brewton man has been forced to stop driving after sentencing was imposed last week when a judge heard evidence in the case of an automobile crash that left an Atmore couple dead.

George Hauer, 63, received a one-year suspended jail sentence and will spend two years on probation as punishment for his actions, according to court documents. He is also banned permanently from driving in Alabama.

The sentenced stemmed from an accident that left Dwight Nichols and his wife, Wilma Nichols, dead in March 2007. Hauer was originally charged with two counts of vehicular homicide and two counts of manslaughter in connection with the wreck.

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Hauer pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide, which is a misdemeanor. The family of the victims reportedly had asked the charges against him be dropped. Attorneys in the case had indicated the family members did not believe that severe punishment would be appropriate given the circumstances of the crash.

The crash occurred in March 2007 on U.S. 31 just south of Atmore near the Baldwin County line according to reports.

According to reports issued by the Alabama State Troopers Office at the time of the crash, Hauer was traveling north on Hwy. 31 in a black 2006 Toyota 4-Runner when his vehicle collided head-on with a white Mercedes E320 occupied by the Nichols’ headed southbound just south of County Road 61. Upon arrival, rescue personnel worked several minutes trying to extricate victims in both vehicles using the Jaws of Life and immediately dispatched Life Flight to the scene.

Hauer and the driver and passenger of the Mercedes were all three airlifted to local hospitals. Dwight Nichols and Wilma Nichols died a short time later.

Witnesses at the scene of the crash stated that the two vehicles collided head-on at speeds of approximately 70 mph. Upon impact, the Mercedes, which had a Baldwin County license plate, spun around and rested in the north bound lane facing north. The 4-Runner also spun, rolled over one time and rested in a nearby ditch upright. The impact of the crash was so powerful that hundreds of pieces of the two vehicles were scattered several hundred feet along the roadway.

A grand jury handed down an indictment against Hauer in February 2008 charging him with operating a motor vehicle recklessly, causing the death of another person. He was arrested and released on a $100,000 bond after the arrest. A condition of his bond was that he not drive or be in physical control of a motor vehicle.

Hauer was also involved in an accident in Flomaton in March 2009 that left three injured.

The crash occurred on U.S. 31 at Old Fannie Road when his car collided with one driven by David Smith of Flomaton, who was traveling with his wife and two children. Hauer, Smith, his wife, Leigh Smith and daughter, Samantha Bryant, were all injured.

No charges were filed against Hauer in connection with the 2009 crash.