Former Sealy News editor pleads guilty to vehicular manslaughter


April Towery, a former editor of The Sealy News, pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of intoxication manslaughter with a vehicle and intoxication assault with a vehicle in relation to March 29, 2019 vehicle collision that took the life of Bill “Shannon” Brewer of Madisonville, 55, who was ejected from the vehicle following the crash and was not wearing a seatbelt.

Towery received two five-year terms in prison for the felonies, with the sentences to be served concurrently.

The sentence was the result of a plea arrangement made between Towery and Madison County District Attorney Brian Risinger with the involvement of one of the victims in the collision, Madison County Deputy Clerk Heidi Ellis. The parties met in May to have a conversation that resulted in the arrangement.

“They had a very good meeting,” Risinger said after Towery’s sentencing Tuesday. “It was very healing for both parties.”

Immediately following Towery’s sentencing Tuesday, she and Ellis shared an embrace.

Towery was driving a 2015 Nissan Altima that collided with a 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee at a high speed on Highway 75 near Madisonville around 10 p.m. She was not immediately arrested following the incident because of her injuries, which were not life-threatening.

The accident resulted in the immediate death of Brewer, who was driving the SUV. Ellis, Brewer’s sister, was airlifted to CHI St. Joseph Health in Bryan, where she was treated for her injuries and survived. Ellis’ eight-year-old granddaughter also survived the incident in which the Jeep reportedly rolled over four times.

Towery, who studied journalism at Texas A&M University, had worked for several area newspapers prior to becoming managing editor for The Sealy News in 2017. She worked for the Madisonville Meteor as managing editor from the fall of 2015 to spring 2017. She also worked for the Navasota Examiner, the Huntsville Item and the Bryan-College Station Eagle prior to editing the News. She was let go from The Sealy News on Thursday, March 28.


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