VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- Calling it the "most egregious DUI that I ever heard," a judge sentenced a Virginia Beach man to more than six years in prison for a series of crashes that included hitting and seriously injuring a 16-year-old girl one night in 2016.
48-year-old Paul James Williams was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years and 365 days in prison, with 19 years and 335 days suspended, leaving a total sentence of six years and 30 days to serve.
The incident happened back in August, when Williams rear-ended a vehicle on Holland Road in Virginia Beach. He continued driving, going down Holland Road in the wrong direction, before driving over the median and then onto the sidewalk. It was at this point he hit a teenage girl, who was walking with her friend.
Williams fled the scene again, and hit two more vehicles in the process. Several witnesses began following in their own vehicles, with one person trying to stop Williams' car with his own vehicle.
Williams again went onto the sidewalk to avoid the citizen and ran a red light. His vehicle eventually came to a stop at Holland Road and South Plaza Trail, likely due to the damage from the various crashes.
Williams showed signs of impairment from a field sobriety test, and a later tested a BAC of .31, well over the legal limit of .08.
In addition to alcohol impairment, Williams told police that during the initial crash, he had been playing Pokémon Go on his cell phone.
Williams pleaded guilty to the charges of DUI – Reckless – Victim Permanently Impaired, Hit and Run – Personal Injury, Hit and Run – Property Damage, and DUI.
While the 16-year-old pedestrian survived, she suffered serious injuries, including a two-inch hole in her back that went to her spinal cord. She suffered several broken vertebrae in her lower back. Blood and hair fragments were found on Williams' vehicle, which indicated that the crumpled hood pierced the teen’s back, and her head struck the windshield.
Although the victim retains complete motor function today, she suffers from back pain and has a significant scar on her middle back.
Williams' sentence is well above the high-end of the recommendation of the Virginia State guidelines, which called for a sentence range of one day to six months in jail.
During the sentencing, Judge Glenn Croshaw called the defendant's actions "reckless beyond anything I can contemplate," adding that four to five people could have been killed as a result.
Williams was previously convicted of DUI in 2002 and Hit and Run in 2004. At the time of his arrest in 2016, he was awaiting trial on charges of Public Intoxication and Possession of Marijuana, for which he has since been convicted.