DUI driver sent to prison for hitting pedestrian

Kurt Hildebrand / The Record-Courier

STATELINE, Nev. – A California man was under the influence of marijuana when he struck a pedestrian in Stateline a year ago.

At 240 nanograms, 51-year-old William Earl Peterson had the highest concentration of the drug in his system that Prosecutor Nathaniel Smith said he’d ever seen.

Peterson was sentenced to 3-8 years in prison on Tuesday.

The woman Peterson hit said she appreciated that he took responsibility for the crime.

“We’re doing OK now,” she said. “His taking responsibility makes it easier to bear.”

She said she was in a wheelchair for a while after the Aug. 20, 2022, collision.

Peterson struck the woman, whose knees and legs were injured, and then ran up on top of a Toyota Camry parked along Lake Parkway.

Peterson admitted to counts of driving under the influence and reckless driving causing substantial bodily harm.

Apologizing to the woman, the court and the community, Peterson said he was in a manic state and had been self-medicating. He has since been under psychiatric care and the new medications are helping with his bi-polar disorder.

“Having bi-polar disorder doesn’t make you less of a person,” District Judge Tod Young said. “But it also doesn’t make you less liable for your actions.”

Under an agreement, prosecutors and the defense jointly recommended 3-8 years on the DUI and 1-3 years for the reckless count. The two sentences will be run simultaneously. He could have faced up to 26 years in prison on the two charges. Prison was mandatory.

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