Berry man sentenced after DUI crash seriously injures teen girl
FAYETTE COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - A Berry man has been sentenced to prison after a drunk driving crash seriously injured a 17-year-old girl.
Wesley Aaron Studdard, 31, pleaded guilty in the Fayette County Circuit Court at a hearing held on May 11. A judge sentenced him to 15 years and a day in prison for first-degree assault.
Investigators with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s Traffic Homicide Division determined the victim, driving a 2007 Mazda6, had been traveling south on Alabama Highway 13 and was stopped waiting to pull into her driveway at 5 p.m. on Dec. 13, 2020. Studdard, driving a 2002 Toyota Tacoma south on Highway 13, crashed into the rear of her car while traveling approximately 60 miles per hour. according to investigators.
The victim’s car was pushed across the lanes of traffic and came to rest 195 feet from the point of impact. A witness told troopers that Studdard got out of his truck and threw something into the grass alongside the road along with a cooler. The cooler, as well opened and unopened beer cans, was recovered from the site.
The victim was flown to UAB Hospital in Birmingham, where she was treated for traumatic injuries to her head, face, neck, chest, lungs and extremities.
She continues to recover from the injuries she sustained. “This young lady is a fighter. She’s one tough cookie. he has an incredible will to live and such a positive outlook on life. I don’t know that she would have survived without that spirit and the family support that she has,” said 24th Judicial Circuit District Attorney Andy Hamlin.
Studdard was checked by medial staff and later performed poorly on a sobriety test administered four hours after the crash. His blood alcohol level registered at 0.14 at 9:12 p.m. that night, according to investigators.
Studdard had one prior adult DUI conviction. He remains in the Fayette County Jail awaiting transport to the Alabama Department of Corrections. Because of the length of the sentence, he will not be eligible for good behavior incentive time while serving the sentence.
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