Driver accused in fatal DUI wreck was convicted of similar crime years ago



BONNEY LAKE, Washington - It was November of 1999 when Shawn Fairbanks was killed by a drunken driver.

The driver’s name was James Southard Jr.

For Fairbanks’ family, the loss has been devastating, especially for his son and daughter, who were very young when their father was killed.

“I’ve been upset for years because I haven’t had a father there to comfort me on the days that I need,” said his daughter, Taylor Fairbanks.

“It was really painful for me growing up without a father, so seeing this happen again – I can’t believe it’s happened again,” said Fairbanks’ son, Nicholas. “I just hope he gets what he deserves.”

Southard has once again been accused in a fatal DUI crash.

This time, the alleged victim is Gary Slick, who was run down Friday afternoon as he walked near the intersection of State Route 410 and 214th Street in Bonney Lake, according to charging documents.

Southard, who pleaded not guilty to vehicular homicide Monday, initially told police Slick’s death was not his fault. Southard was allegedly slurring his speech and had several kinds of drugs.

It was something Dorri Fairbanks, Shawn’s widow, predicted. When Southard was sentenced in Shawn’s death 10 years ago, Dorri said he was dangerous.

“I was hoping he learned his lesson when he was in prison, but that when he got out, he might do it again, and he’s done it again, so...” Dorri said.

The Fairbanks family said losing the head of the household more than 10 years ago has been difficult.

Dorri said she’ll likely lose her home soon. She said Southard should get the prison sentence he deserved years ago.

“Life. Never out again,” she said. “So he doesn’t go out and hurt somebody else’s family.”