Nearly two years ago, a devastating car accident left a Portland woman in a vegetative state. She was pregnant at the time. Doctors performed a cesarean section a few weeks after the crash, and while the baby is doing fine, her 21-year-old mother was severely injured. Her skull and jaw were fractured, and she sustained widespread brain damage. After six months in the hospital, she was transferred to a rehab center, where she remains today. She is now able to open her eyes, but she cannot speak.
Yesterday, a Multnomah County jury spent less than an hour deliberating on whether the man charged with crashing into her was guilty of assault and reckless driving, and intoxicated driving. They decided unanimously that he was responsible for the crash. The woman's family was thrilled to hear the guilty verdict read in court.
During the four-day trial, the 54-year-old defendant attempted to argue that two people he could not identify had meddled with the steering in his vehicle, causing him to crash into the 21-year-old while rounding a turn on April 15, 2010. In an apparently disjointed defense, the man's attorney argued that he simply lost control of his vehicle while navigating the turn.
Prosecutors, however, called an expert witness to the stand who testified that the 54-year-old was high on methamphetamines at the time of the collision.
The jury will be back in the courtroom today to help the judge settle on an appropriate sentence. Reports say 10 years in prison is likely the most he would receive.
While no conviction or amount of money can reverse the damage that was caused in this tragic accident, hopefully knowing that justice will be served will help the woman and her family find hope in this difficult time.
Source: The Oregonian, "Cayla Wilson's parents hail Portland verdict against driver who hurt their daughter," Aimee Green, Jan. 12, 2012