Teen who caused crash that paralyzed child sentenced to offender program

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A 17-year-old driver who was drunk and high on marijuana when he ran off an Oceanside road and struck a man and his toddler grandson, leaving the 18-month-old boy blind and with severe brain damage, was sentenced Monday to a maximum of 480 days in custody in a youthful offender program.

The teenager, whose name was withheld because he was prosecuted in Juvenile Court, pleaded guilty two months ago to felony drunken driving.

Deputy District Attorney Mary Loeb told Judge Dwayne Moring that the defendant was impaired and driving without a license about 9 a.m. Oct. 18 when his car veered off the road and struck Abraham Verde and his grandson, Izaiah Wallis, on a sidewalk and crashed into a home.

Police caught the driver, but three passengers escaped into the surrounding neighborhood.

Loeb told the judge the toddler will undergo his sixth surgery soon.

“He (Izaiah) will never walk again,” the prosecutor said.

Lucy Verde, the child's mother, said Izaiah won't be able to eat on his own.

She criticized the defendant for taking a month to apologize for his behavior. She also said the defendant tried to run away after the accident.

“He didn't try to help my baby,” the victim's mother said. “He didn't try to help my dad.”

Abraham Verde, who suffered a broken ankle, said his injury will heal but he may not be able to go back to work.

“It hurts me very much to see my grandson in these circumstances,” the grandfather said.

Maria Gonzalez, the victim's grandmother, said her grandson was excited the day of the accident because his grandfather was taking him for his daily walk to the park in his stroller.

The 17-year-old defendant apologized to the victims, saying he knew what he did was wrong.

“I'm really sorry,” the defendant said. “I know I can be a better person.”

The judge said the seriousness of the offense and the egregious nature of the toddler's injuries made custody in the youthful offender program the appropriate sentence.

Categories: KUSI