Man Admits Guilt To Intoxicated Assault - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

01/14/08 - Nacogdoches

Man Admits Guilt To Intoxicated Assault

by Donna McCollum

The tears flow as Ben and Shannon Curtis recall the details of their July 2006 head on collision . Testimony reminds them of their ordeal, but they'll never forget an accident as bad as this one.    

Matt Vaglica admits to drunk driving that caused the intoxicated assault. Curtis was a reserve deputy. His wife, a stay at home mom of three was riding along. Also injured were two passengers in Vaglica's car. The recent Lamar University graduate passed a vehicle in a no passing zone on Highway 21 east. He had just left a a fish fry where he drank beer. He's hoping his guilty pleas will lead to a probated sentence by a Nacogdoches County Jury.

Mothers Against Drunk Drivers victim advocate, Kathy Bell-Schexnaider knows,  " It's different in every county. It's different with every case. Unfortunately, you cannot predict what a jury will do. "

Ben Curtis testified he's a forgiving individual, but would be disappointed if Vaglica received probation. Matt Vaglica could receive two to ten years in prison on each of the four cases. His sentence can also be probated.

The accident broke Curtis' pelvis, femur, and arm. He was on a morphine drip for weeks. Numerous surgeries and painful rehabilitation followed. Today with a rod in his leg, he's fulfilled his dream of becoming a sheriff's deputy.

The couple can't be interviewed until after the trial, but friends share what they know about the couple. Wendi Stevenson shared, " With ben, he still wanted to be the provider and that made it extremely difficult for him because he's always been there for them. " Shannon was discovered in a fold of the patrol car. She too received numerous broken bones. She wore a halo and neck brace for several months, losing time with her children along the way. Her youngest child didn't recognize her. Stevenson said,  " For her to not to be able to do anything, basically, just to lay there and to have her children not recognize her, that was the hardest for Shannon.  "

Vaglica will testify regret for his conduct. He turns 24 on Saturday, and will claim to be more mature. A jury will weigh his growth against the very emotional and physical changes of a couple who is thankful to be alive today.

The case will continue tomorrow

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