Fresno man pleads 'no contest' to DUI crash, blinding teen

February 22, 2013 12:51:18 AM PST
A plea agreement could keep a Fresno man out of jail, but on probation for years. Douglas Lindsay agreed Thursday that he was driving under the influence of prescription drugs and caused the crash that nearly killed a Bullard High School student almost two years ago.

Shaela Warkentin works each day to make the best of her tragic situation. A crash in March 2011 nearly killed her. The wreck left her blind.

Lindsay's truck struck the green Mustang. He pleaded "no contest" in Fresno Superior Court Thursday, for causing the crash while under the influence.

"It's still really hard," Shaela said. "I'm still battling with this new life that I have to live now. I don't know. I learn new things every day. It's just kind of a, you know, take one day at a time, one step at a time."

Shaela and her family say they don't worry too much about the court proceedings. But they told Action News while their forgiveness is offered to him they want Lindsay to be held responsible for his decision to drive under the influence of prescription drugs.

"It is my belief that it was not an intentional act," said Ken Warkentin, Shaela's father. "Some unfortunate decisions were made which lead to a tragedy. I can't dwell on being angry or bitter."

"As long as there's awareness about the choice that he made," Shaela said. "And what has come out of it. Even, not just to him, but to people all around, that it could honestly affect lives, not just one life."

The first time Lindsey saw Shaela in person, last April, he broke down in tears. Shaela and her family knew a plea deal was offered to Lindsey. And they are now preparing themselves for the chance to address him at his sentencing in May.

Originally Lindsay was facing up to six years in prison. The judge indicated the new plea will likely keep Lindsay out of custody. But he's facing about 5 years on probation and $900,000 dollars in restitution to the Warkentin family. Sentencing is scheduled for May 4.


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