San Antonio man who killed college student in wrong-way crash sentenced to 60 years in prison

Joseph Woolard, 37, pleaded guilty to murder on Friday

Joseph Woolard, 37, pleaded guilty to murder on Friday morning, stemming from the crash that happened on May 3, 2020. (Bexar County District Attorney/KSAT)

A San Antonio man will spend 60 years in prison for crashing head-on with another vehicle, killing a young college student.

Joseph Woolard, 37, pleaded guilty to murder on Friday morning -- a charge stemming from the crash that happened on May 3, 2020.

Woolard had warrants out for his arrest for violating bond when police said they spotted him driving. Officers tried to initiate a traffic stop at Potranco and Waterstone Pl., but Woolard wouldn’t stop his vehicle.

Authorities pursued Woolard until he turned onto an exit ramp for Northeast Loop 410 to Northbound IH-25 into oncoming traffic. It wasn’t long before Woolard’s vehicle struck another car head-on, killing its driver, 20-year-old Asante Contreras.

Woolard was also injured in the crash and was taken to an area hospital. That’s when investigators searched his vehicle and found a loaded .357 Magnum handgun, drug paraphernalia and more than $16,000.

Before the crash, police said Woolard posted $335,000 in bonds on charges for leading Bexar County deputies on a pursuit in March 2019 that ended with a shootout.

Woolard said he blamed police for “getting him shot” and that he wouldn’t go back to jail if he was caught, according to officials.

Prior to Woolard’s sentence, Asante’s mother, Anja Contreras, made a victim impact statement via Zoom. She described her son as “a beacon” and a “sunshine in person.”

“Asante was loved more than you will ever know. Had he been able to that night, he would’ve dragged himself out of his car to check on you. That’s who he was, always dedicated to others. I hate what you did to my boy, how badly you broke my beautiful innocent boy. There you are, thinking only of yourself. Asante worked three jobs to put himself through school. I was so proud of him. Why didn’t you stop? You broke us all. You robbed him of his future, his dreams. He had the brightest future ahead. He did everything right,” Anja Contreras said.

Judge Michael Mery took into account Woolard’s other charges, which included evading arrests/detention with a vehicle, aggravated assault against a public servant and felon in possession of a firearm before giving him his lengthy sentence of 60 years.

“Nothing deterred this defendant from violence – not a shootout with law enforcement, not high bonds, not even the risk he posed to innocent people like Asante Contreras. No amount of prison time will make the Contreras family whole again. This defendant will have decades to think about the life he took and the life he led that put him where he belongs -- behind bars,” District Attorney Joe Gonzales said.

Officials said Woolard will have to serve a minimum of 30 years in prison before he can be considered for parole.


About the Author:

Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for WICS/WRSP 20 in Springfield, Illinois.