Man with history of DUI's involved in deadly crash that kills Memphis teen

Published: Jan. 6, 2007 at 2:41 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 12, 2007 at 3:52 PM CST
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A brutal collision on a Memphis road leaves a 19-year-old dead, his passenger injured and a driver charged with a "third" DUI.

Reverend Otis Tidwell is experiencing an enormous amount of pain few people can comprehend.

Tidwell says, "it's been kind of a fog, reality, I have my moments."

Moments where he thinks of his son Christian who was in the Tennessee Air National Guard, making his family proud.

"He joined while he was in high school," says Tidwell.

On Tuesday night, as Tidwell's life was just taking off, it ended.

The deadly crash happened at the intersection of South Third and Horn Lake Rd.

Investigators say Ricky Willis was intoxicated and behind the wheel of a Ford F-150 and plowed into Christian Tidwell's blue Pontiac, killing him and injuring a passenger.

"This is happening too often. People driving under the influence of whatever," says the victims step-mother, Beverly Tidwell.

Police records show Willis had one DUI conviction in 1992.

State law mandates his license be suspended for one year.

Willis got his second DUI conviction in 2002; his license then suspended two years.

The law states that if Willis had a 3rd DUI within ten years, a judge could have taken his license away for life.

But, Willis is facing his third DUI in 15 years, and this time he's also charged with vehicular homicide and vehicular assault.

"None of the taxpaying citizens have to be subject to being a victim to someone that has a problem," says Tidwell.

The Tidwell family is now questioning why Willis was behind the wheel at all with a history of DUI convictions.

Ricky Willis is facing some serious prision time if he's convicted of all charges. A judge could take away his drivers license for life.

Last month there were two DUI related crashes in Shelby County.

In 2006, there were a total of 36 crashes that involved alcohol.

To email Andrew Douglas click