A Lawton man and former soldier will serve 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to causing a fatal wreck in July 2021 that killed one person.
Presiding Comanche County Judge Emmit Tayloe sentenced Nevin Berke Whitis, 31, of Lawton, to a 25-year sentence with 15 years to serve and 10 years suspended after Whitis pled guilty to a count of first-degree manslaughter, records indicate. Although given credit for time served, Whitis will have to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before consideration for parole.
Whitis also will have to go through the Keys to Life or another comparable program, serve two years of Department of Corrections supervision upon release, and pay $5,390.75 in fines, court costs and any retribution.
Tayloe sentenced Whitis to serve one year concurrently in the Comanche County Detention Center after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor count of a person involved in personal injury accident while under the influence of alcohol or intoxicating liquor, and another 90 days concurrently for another misdemeanor count of transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle. Records indicate a count of reckless driving was dropped.
Whitis accepted guilt for crashing into the rear end of a Chevrolet Impala at the intersection of Northwest 67th Street and Cache Road, killing Jonathon Flores the morning of July 18, 2021. He also struck a traffic pole with his Nissan Titan, knocking the pole off its base.
A search of the Nissan turned up a loaded Glock 9mm handgun, according to police. Whitis was taken to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries as well as a blood draw due to his demeanor, according to the affidavit. At that time, he was serving on active duty in the Army.
Whitis was charged July 20, 2021, and held on $200,000 bond, before receiving a bond reduction in August 2021 with the stipulation he be confined to the post on Fort Sill where he served in the Army. He was freed Sept. 14, 2021, on $50,000 bond and on May 4 his restriction to Fort Sill was lifted due to his discharge from the Army, records indicate.