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New details emerge about charges in manslaughter case against Hartford teen
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New details emerge about charges in manslaughter case against Hartford teen

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A Hartford teen accused of recklessly causing the death of a Florida woman in a car accident is out of jail after posting bond.

William Jackson Birdsong, 18, was arrested last week after a grand jury indicted him on charges of manslaughter and second-degree assault for causing a pile-up in a construction zone that led to the death of a woman and injured another.

A report filed by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Troopers revealed that Birdsong, considered a juvenile before his arrest, was driving a 2013 GMC Sierra when it struck a car driven by 70-year-old Barbara Joyce Spears of Westville, Florida, that was stuck in traffic within a construction zone on Alabama Highway 167.

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As a result, Spears was fatally injured and pronounced dead at the scene. Another person was life-flighted to a nearby hospital for treatment.

An indictment handed down by a grand jury stated that on June 30, Birdsong is accused of recklessly causing the death of a woman and injuring a man “by speeding and/or driving while distracted and/or driving under the influence of marijuana,” according to court records filed online this week.

Manslaughter is a class B felony with a conviction carrying two to 20 years in prison and up to $30,000 in fines. The penalty for a second-degree assault using a deadly weapon – in this case, a car – is one to 10 years and a fine of up to $15,000.

Birdsong was released from the Geneva County Jail on bonds totaling $110,000 last week.

An arraignment is scheduled for Nov. 3.

Sable Riley is a Dothan Eagle staff writer and can be reached at or 334.712.7915. Support her work and that of other Eagle journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today at


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