Va. Beach man gets six-year sentence for hitting teen while driving drunk

Paul James Williams (Photo: Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A man who was driving drunk when he hit a teen girl in Virginia Beach was sentenced to six years in prison Wednesday.

48-year-old Paul James Williams received a sentence of 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.

Virginia sentencing guidelines called for a sentence range of one day to six months in jail.

When announcing the sentence, Circuit Court Judge Glenn C. Croshaw said this was the “most egregious DUI that I have heard” and that the defendant’s actions were “reckless beyond anything I can contemplate.” The judge also said that there could have been four to five dead victims as a result of Williams’ behavior.

Williams pleaded guilty on Dec. 21, 2016, to several charges including driving under the influence and hit-and-run.

Driver charged after hitting person, several vehicles in Va. Beach

Prosecutors say around 7:40 p.m. on Aug. 5, 2016, Williams rear-ended another vehicle on Holland Road. He didn’t stop at the scene and kept driving — on the wrong side of the road. He crossed over a median, veered back into the correct travel lane and eventually started driving on the sidewalk. That’s when he hit a 16-year-old girl walking with her friend. Williams again fled the scene.

Williams got back on the road and hit another vehicle. He refused to stop and ended up hitting a third vehicle stopped in a turning lane. Again, he kept going.

Two witnesses in a separate vehicle followed Williams as he left the scene. Another driver tried to stop Williams with his own car. Prosecutors say Williams drove onto the sidewalk and ran a red light to avoid the other vehicle.

Eventually, Williams’ vehicle was disabled at Holland Road and South Plaza Trail, likely from the damage suffered in the crashes.

The teen pedestrian hit by Williams was taken to the hospital, where doctors found she had a two inch hole in her back, which went to her spinal cord. She had several broken vertebrae in her lower back.

Teen hit by suspected drunk driver expected to make full recovery

According to prosecutors, blood and hair found on Williams’ vehicle indicated that the crumpled hood pierced the victim’s back, and her head hit the windshield. She has complete motor function still, but suffers from back pain and has a significant scar.

Officers responded to the scene and began investigating. Williams reportedly had slurred speech, bloodshot and watery eyes, smelled of alcohol and he was swaying while standing and walking. He admitted to drinking three vodka drinks and two beers before the accidents. Hospital records said he had a blood alcohol level of .31.

Williams also told police that during the first crash, he was playing Pokemon Go.

Williams has prior convictions for DUI in 2002 and hit-and-run in 2004. At the time of these crimes, he was awaiting trial on charges of public intoxication and possession of marijuana, for which he has since been convicted.