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Orange County man indicted on another count of intoxication manslaughter in pair of 2020 Bridge City hit-and-run wrecks

More than a year after the crashes that killed two people, Jerrod Watkins has been indicted for the death of the second person.

BRIDGE CITY, Texas — An Orange County grand jury has indicted a 23-year-old driver on a second count of intoxication manslaughter in connection to a pair of June 2020 wrecks that killed two people.

More than a year after the separate wrecks that killed Robert Jackson and Jillian Blanchard, Jerrod Lee Watkins was indicted in the 163rd District Court in connection to Jackson's death. Orange County jail records show Watkins has already been released.

Watkins was previously arrested and charged on Oct. 1, 2020 with intoxication manslaughter in connection with the death of Blanchard. He was booked and posted bond the same day.

Credit: Orange County Sheriff's Office
Jerrod Lee Watkins

Related: Orange County man charged with intoxication manslaughter in June wreck  in Bridge City

The crashes and the subsequent investigation led to continued cries for justice from the victims' families and the community.

In June 2020, the Bridge City Police Department were called to investigate a wreck in which a northbound Nissan Altima crossed into the southbound lanes and struck a Ford F-150 head-on. When officers arrived on the scene, they found that Blanchard had died.

A few minutes after officers arrived at the wreck, they were notified that Jackson had been struck by a car a few miles away while riding a bike in the 200 block of Ferry Drive.

Investigators did not learn until later that the two fatal wrecks, six miles apart, may have been connected, according to an April 2021 news release.

Watkins “...was immediately identified as the driver of the pickup, as he was still inside the truck at the time officers arrived on the scene,” according to an October 2020 news release.

Related: Bridge City widow seeks answers nearly a year after hit-and-run death of husband

Family members of Blanchard along with family members of Jackson contend that the two incidents were related and held a protest at the Bridge City Police Department in August 2020 saying that police had not been forthcoming in the investigation.

Jackson's widow, Mandi Jackson, appeared before the Bridge City city council on Tuesday, April 6, 2021, and made an impassioned pleas to officials for justice in her husband's death.

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