The 17-year-old drunk driver who hit a toddler in a stroller -- and his grandfather who was pushing him -- learned his fate Monday.
Izaiah Wallis, 18 months, was on a morning walk with his grandfather, Abraham Verde, along the 4100 block of Lake Boulevard in Oceanside on Oct. 18 when an SUV driven by the teen plowed into the pair. Izaiah was thrown from his stroller in the crash, separating his skull from his spine. Police said the suspect tried to leave the scene but was caught and arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. It was only 9 a.m.
On Monday, the 17-year-old driver was sentenced to the maximum penalty allowed: a term not to exceed 480 days in the juvenile court systems's youthful offender unit. The county's probation department had recommended a 1-year sentence at Camp Barrett.
After the sentence was read in court, Izaiah's family huddled outside the building in prayer.
The teenaged driver has not been identified because of his age.
The judge ended up moving the sentencing to a different courtroom, in part, to accommodate the news media. Before the hearing began, friends and supporters gathered outside the courthouse in a scene similar to one prior to the hearing two weeks ago when the driver apogized to the family.
The teen apologized directly to Verde, saying in Spanish, "I never meant to run you over. I apologize for what happened to your grandson. I hope you guys can forgive me for what I've done."
The teen admitted to drunk driving and causing great bodily injury to the grandfather and grandson. The charges include causing paralysis to a child.
"My family is going to go there and prove a point," Jacob Wallis told the paper. "I mean, what is a year going to do for [the teenage driver]? My son gets a lifetime sentence."
After the crash, Izaiah was lifeflighted to Rady Children's Hospital. His grandfather was also taken to a trauma center.
Currently, the once-active toddler is in a medically induced coma. He has undergone five surgeries since the incident, and is set to have a sixth during the next few weeks to insert a feeding tube. His has brain damage and is paralyzed.