Updated 7/8 3:42 p.m. - Updated with comments from Walker County District Attorney Bill Adair.
Blake Carter Hudson, a former Walker County sheriff's deputy, has been charged with felony manslaughter stemming from a 2019 crash that killed 14-year-old Austin Aaron of Oakman.
The indictment came down from a Walker County Grand Jury on July 2.
In a statement released to the media, Walker County Sheriff Nick Smith said that a grand jury found that "probable cause" existed enough for the indictment.
"Mr. Hudson was booked into the Walker County Jail and bonded out a short time after," Smith said. "This indictment is a direct result of the investigation performed by officials with ALEA. The investigation of the incident was immediately turned over to ALEA after it occurred, and unfortunately, investigations of this nature generally take a frustrating amount of time to conduct. That amount of time is vital, however, to carrying out a thorough and complete investigation, evidenced by the indictment itself."
According to the indictment, Hudson was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash and was driving at excessive speeds. Hudson was booked into the Walker County Jail on a $30,000 bond.
"This indictment is also evidence that the administration of this department, in line with department protocol, was committed to providing the victim and his family with the fairest investigation possible by bringing in an outside agency," Smith said. "This is the first step in a long process towards closure for both families."
After the crash, the investigation was quickly turned over to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency because it involved a sheriff's deputy, according to Jasper Police Chief J.C. Poe at the time of the accident. District Attorney Bill Adair said the investigation by ALEA was extensive and involved local fact gathering and testing by other agencies. The findings from the investigation was then turned over to the DA's office and was presented at the June term of the Grand Jury.
"Because this involved a law enforcement officer an outside agency was requested to investigate," Adair said. "Manslaughter is a class B felony that has a sentence range from 2 to 20 years. The state bar requires me to state that all defendants are presumed innocent until found guilty."
After the crash, Aaron was taken to Children's of Alabama where he died three days later due to injuries sustained in the crash.
Hudson was transported to Walker Baptist Medical Center and later released. He has not been with the Sheriff's Office since August 2019.
"Our hearts and thoughts are with them as they prepare for what we hope will be a swift and judicious end to a terrible situation," Smith said. "To ensure that judicious end, the Sheriff’s Office, also in line with department policy of not commenting on other agency’s cases, will make no public statements regarding the details of the case in an effort to preserve its integrity.”