By Jean Cole
A Huntsville woman with three previous drunk-driving convictions who is accused of causing a fatal Limestone County wreck in September has been formally charged with murder and other charges, records show.
Jessica Jean Gatewood, 50, was arrested Thursday following her recent indictment by a Limestone County grand jury. She is now facing charges of reckless murder, driving under the influence, two counts of third-degree assault and driving while revoked, records show.
She remains in the Limestone County Jail, with bail set at $33,500.
State troopers believe Gatewood was driving under the influence when she rear-ended a sport utility vehicle on Interstate 565 on Sept. 25. Records show she had three previous convictions for DUI, records show.
Gatewood, also known as Jessica Lewter, had received light sentences for her first three DUIs, two of which occurred in Limestone County and one of which involved a traffic accident, records show.
Gatewood received her fourth DUI — and the reckless murder charge — when she plowed into a Range Rover driven by Terrell Kent Hollingsworth, 45, of Decatur, on Sept. 25 near Mooresville. When the accident occurred, Hollingsworth and his passenger were waiting in a line of slow-moving traffic backed up on I-565 due to another wreck that killed an Athens woman, Marissa Baugher and her unborn son, Micah, as well as Fredrick Bender, 66, of Vestavia.
When the second wreck occurred about 7 p.m., Gatewood was driving about 70 miles per hour in a 60 mph zone but in traffic that had stalled from the previous 4 p.m. wreck, according to troopers and Huntsville Police.
Hollingsworth died from his injuries at Huntsville Hospital two days after the wreck.
Records show Limestone County charged Gateway with DUI in November 2010 in connection with a traffic accident. While the case was pending over an extended period, she was arrested two more times for DUI.
Decatur Police arrested her Feb. 6, 2012.
Five months later, on July 4, 2012, Limestone County arrested her.
After her second Limestone arrest, District Attorney Brian Jones’ office filed a motion to revoke Gatewood’s bond on the first case. However, before she was arrested, the district attorney’s office allowed her to plead to both Limestone County charges.