The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

October 12, 2013

Murder, DUI charged in I-565 wreck

By Jean Cole
jean@athensnews-courier.com

— A Huntsville woman has been charged with reckless murder and driving under the influence of alcohol in connection with a Sept. 25 wreck in Limestone County that led to the death of a Decatur man.

Huntsville Police, acting on a warrant obtained by state troopers, arrested Jessica Jean Gatewood, 49, also known as Jessica Lewter, on Friday, Limestone District Attorney Brian Jones said.

She is being held in the Limestone County Jail. She cannot bail out because her probation on a previous charge of DUI has been revoked.

The wreck occurred on Interstate 565 near Mooresville while vehicles were waiting for traffic to clear following a wreck that killed an Athens mother at about 4 p.m. The second wreck occurred about 7:30 p.m. in the eastbound lanes of I-565, just east of Interstate 65. Driver Terrell Kent Hollingsworth, 45, of Decatur, had slowed or stopped his 2006 Range Rover and was waiting at the end of a line of traffic delayed by the previous wreck when Gatewood’s eastbound vehicle rear-ended Hollingsworth’s vehicle, District Attorney Brian Jones said. He died two days later at Huntsville Hospital, Jones said.

Hollingsworth’s passenger, Leighann Turner, 38, of Trinity, was treated for injuries and released, according to state troopers.

Gatewood was charged as soon as she was released from Huntsville Hospital, Jones said.

Troopers reported Gatewood was traveling about 70 miles per hour while the line of vehicles was barely moving.

The first wreck that day on I-565 killed a pregnant Athens woman, Marissa Baugher, 26, office manager at The Enrichment Center Group in Decatur, and her unborn son, Micah; and Fredrick Bender, 66, of Vestavia, an astrophysicist who worked part time in Huntsville. One official has since said Bender suffered a medical problem that caused him to lose control of his 2002 Toyota Avalon and collide head-on with Baugher’s vehicle.