Louisiana resident Gregg Nelly, 34, the man who nearly stole the life of Stephenville teen Amy Johnson in a drinking and driving accident, pleaded guilty to intoxication assault with serious bodily injury Monday. He was sentenced to eight years in prison.
“This was a very strong, very compelling case,” District Attorney John Terrill said. “All the facts and evidence showed that Nelly was guilty.”
If Nelly and his court -appointed attorney, Blake Thompson, had taken the case to trial, Nelly faced a possible two to ten years in prison for the third degree felony offense.
Nelly was arrested by the Dublin Police Department for drunk driving after he struck a car driven by Johnson on December 19. He was employed by Telecable Services and was driving a company -owned truck when the accident occurred.
Johnson remained in a coma for two days following the accident and suffered brain injuries and severe lacerations. Following time in the hospital and rehabilitation, Johnson still suffers from memory issues, mood swings and major headaches. In a statement read to Nelly, Johnson said the hospital is now like her second home and the girl who never had to take an aspirin is now taking five prescriptions daily.
In a written statement prepared by Nelly, he apologized to the Johnson family for the ordeal they endure d due to his negligence. “I would like to let Miss Johnson know that I do feel terrible for causing her, her family and friends so much pain and misery, “ Nelly said. “If I could have switched places (with her) I surely would have. I apologize with the utmost sincerity and pray that she continues to improve.”
For those involved in the case, the agreement offered a chance for the victim and her family to see justice served. According to Terrill, the Johnson family was heavily involved in the case and even participated in the process of obtaining the plea agreement.
“The plea spared the victim and her family the drawn out process of going to trial and the many appeals that could have followed.” Terrill said. “It also eliminated the possibility that a jury could have returned a verdict that they were not comfortable with.” Because the plea agreement of eight years is almost the maximum allowable sentence and since Nelly was eligible for probation, the D.A.’s office, the victim and her family say they are satisfied with the agreement.
Following the sentencing, Johnson read her own statement, sitting only a short distance from Nelly and at moments looking him directly in his eyes. “I hate this new life you gave me. You will never know how this impacted everybody as greatly as it did,” Johnson said. “I hope you learned from this mistake of yours but I bet you didn’t. After all of this, I forgive you as a person, but I do not forgive you for your actions, and I know there is no guarantee you won’t do it again to some one else. I forgive you. We forgive you, but I hope you don’t forgive yourself.”