SHERMAN, Texas (KTEN) — A truck driver accused of hitting and killing a Gunter woman has been sentenced in connection with a deadly 

A Grayson County jury found Darwood Kellett of Irving, Texas, guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and methamphetamine possession.

Sherman police said Kellett, 55, was behind the wheel of the big rig on January 20, 2021 when it veered off US 75 and crashed into three cars in the Angels of Care Pediatric Home Health parking lot.

The truck also struck and killed 23-year-old Leslie Karen Mercato of Gunter, who was in the parking lot.

"The defendant denied responsibility for using methamphetamine and operating his 18-wheeler impaired, which took the life of an innocent woman," said Assistant District Attorney Don Hoover in a written statement. "Instead, he blamed his traveling almost a quarter of a mile without braking, first, on a hung shoelace and later claimed he was choking on coffee.  It is clear that the jurors did not believe him."

Kellett was sentenced to 20 years for the assault charge and 10 years for the drug charge, to be served concurrently. Those are maximum sentences for the crimes. Kellett must remain imprisoned for at least 10 years before being considered for parole.

Truck driver Darwood Kellett was convicted in connection with a 2021 crash that killed a Gunter woman in a Sherman parking lot.