DUI Crash Sentence: Victim Loses Legs

Jerry Odogui Hernandez received a prison term of 6.5 years for causing a crash in June 2022.

At the age of 24, Jeremiah Washington is relearning how to walk having become a double amputee as a result of the accident, allegedly caused by a drunk driver. Every small improvement he makes marks progress in his quest to lead a normal life and be a good father to his sons.

Speaking to 12News after the culpirit’s sentencing, Washington said, “Most definitely that’s what keeps me going.”

He explained the devastating impact of the crash not only on his physical health but also on his family life and mental state, including suicidal thoughts. He outlined his inability to accompany his youngest son as he learned to walk and argued over finances and therapy arrangements, feeling hopeless over his unemployment and inability to provide for his family.

Despite his suffering, Washington stated that he had forgiven Hernandez. “I can forgive him, but I definitely can’t forget. Especially with prosthetics, I have to stick for the rest of my life,” he said.

On the fateful day of the accident, Washington was hit by an SUV near 46th and Glendale avenues while retrieving clothes from his car boot.

Accounting the incident he said, “I heard a loud boom, but I didn’t think anything of it, and then I realized he had just hit us”. The severity of the injuries led to the double amputation of his legs.

Hernandez was arrested at the scene. Witnesses testified that he attempted to flee the scene following the accident. Hernandez, who has prior convictions for drunk driving, told witnesses that he had been drinking beer.

The court sentenced Hernandez to 6.5 years in prison, 18 months after the incident took place.

Speaking directly to the accused during the sentencing, Washington asked Hernandez why he “decided to drive drunk.” Hernandez apologized for his actions, stating it was an accident, and promised to help with Washington’s medical expenses once his sentence was complete.

Belinda Welch, Washington’s mother, expressed frustration over the sentence, but emphasised the importance of her son’s recovery.

With the criminal proceedings concluded, Washington announced his focus would be on his recovery and building a life for his sons. His family has set up a GoFundMe page to assist with medical costs.

He concluded by stating, “I’m in a forgiving state of mind, so anything in the past– got to let go of all negativity and focus on the positive.”

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