Washington County Man Charged, Accused Of Manslaughter In Suspected DUI Crash

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said 42-year-old Jesse Thornton was driving under the influence and in the wrong lane when he hit a side-by-side head-on, killing 58-year-old Shelly Beaston, who was a passenger.

Monday, March 4th 2024, 6:28 pm



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Washington County prosecutors have charged a man with manslaughter in connection to a crash that killed a woman last summer.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said 42-year-old Jesse Thornton was driving under the influence and in the wrong lane when he hit a side-by-side head-on, killing 58-year-old Shelly Beaston, who was a passenger.

News On 6 went back to the scene with Shelly’s children, Tyler Wintjen, Abbie Beaston, and Dixie Horton.

“We came out here and cleaned a lot of stuff up, and seven months later, there’s still stuff,” said Wintjen.

Shelly’s children said they are reminded of their mom every time they drive by County Road 4010 north of County Road 400 near Wann, where Shelly took her last breath.

“The thought of what happened, what she’d seen, what she went through has gone through my head a million times,” said Wintjen.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said on July 15th, 2023, Shelly and her husband Mike were in their side-by-side when Jesse Thornton, driving an F-350, hit them head-on.

Mike was hurt, and Shelly did not make it.

“She was the sweetest, kindest, most loving, helpful person you’d ever meet,” said her youngest child, Abbie.

Investigators said Thornton told them he had six beers during the day, and a blood test showed his blood alcohol level was .11.

Washington County deputies arrested Thornton on March 1 for first-degree manslaughter. He left jail the same day on a $75,000 bond.

“I don’t believe there’s such thing as justice after you take somebody’s life because nothing’s going to equal what he did to Mom,” said Wintjen.

Thornton declined to talk to us during his first court appearance on March 4.

At Shelly’s final resting place, her headstone is in place, and her loved ones are holding on to memories and hope.

“There’s no closure or justice you could get from this situation,” said Abbie. “The only thing we can do is hope that we can get him off the road so that somebody else’s parent isn’t taken from them or their kids.”

Shelly’s family wants to know why it took more than seven months for an arrest. 

Washington County District Attorney, William Drake, told News On 6 he got OHP’s final report two weeks ago because it takes months to get back toxicology results and other details.

Thornton is due back in court on April 5.

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