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Washington man guilty of manslaughter, DUII for crash that killed Sweet Home teens
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Washington man guilty of manslaughter, DUII for crash that killed Sweet Home teens

A Woodland, Washington man has been found guilty of manslaughter and other crimes for killing two Sweet Home teens in a head-on drunk driving crash.

A 12-member jury found Austyn Wayne Hillsman, 22, guilty of two counts of second-degree manslaughter, third-degree assault, driving under the influence of intoxicants and reckless driving. The verdict was delivered on Friday, at the conclusion of Hillsman’s four-day trial in Linn County Circuit Court.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 28 before Judge David Delsman.

The crash, which occurred in May 23, 2020 on Highway 228 four miles east of Brownsville, killed siblings Caleb Simonis, 19, and Shelby Simonis, 16. Their sibling Kylee Simonis, then 15, was seriously injured in the wreck.

Hillsman’s Ford F-250 was going east when it crossed into oncoming traffic, hitting a Honda Pilot with the siblings inside, according to the Oregon State Police.  Witnesses saw Hillsman try to hide beer that was in his pickup, prosecutor Julia Baker said during his arraignment last year.

According to a probable cause affidavit in the case, Hillsman’s blood alcohol content was .23%.

Hillsman was facing first-degree manslaughter and second-degree assault charges, but he was found guilty of lesser included offenses as the jury found that extreme indifference to the value of human life was not a factor in the crimes.

Kyle Odegard can be contacted at 541-812-6077 or kyle.odegard@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter via @KyleOdegard.

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