Man who struck Garden City pedestrian sent to jail

Idaho StatesmanDecember 13, 2013 

John Taylor French

John Taylor French, 20, was sentenced Friday to one year in the Ada County Jail for striking 24 year-old Alan Beavers in a Garden City crosswalk after going through a red light Aug. 24.

Fourth District Judge Patrick Owen withheld judgment on two felonies - leaving the scene of an accident and destruction or alteration of evidence — and sentenced him to six months in jail on a misdemeanor reckless driving. The additional six-month sentence will be served as part of French's 10 years of probation.

"I know you didn't mean to do this," Owen told French. "But you were careless, you were reckless and you need to pay a penalty for that."

Beavers had walked more than 50 feet north across Chinden Boulevard at Maple Grove Road when he was struck by French. Based on his speed of about 50 mph, French would have driven his pickup 1,200 feet from the time the traffic light turned yellow until he struck Beavers, deputy Ada County Prosecutor Jon Medema said.

"I just can't imagine how anyone could have survived that kind of impact," Owen said, noting that one neighbor believed French's pickup had struck another vehicle when she heard the crash.

Beavers, who was in a coma for nearly a month and is now recuperating with his parents in Nampa, suffered 33 different injuries, from serious brain injuries, broken ribs, a broken wrist and a broken leg. Owen noted that he was already in a coma when medical personnel arrived at the scene, suffered severe blood loss and had 154 staples inserted to close off wounds.

He said Beavers faces nearly $500,000 in medical bills and Owen said the family is facing financial ruin.

French pulled over and then parked in a nearby convenience store parking lot but did not go back to offer assistance. He swapped out his damaged hood for another one and changed a headlight to conceal his involvement. A grainy video from the convenience store allowed investigators to identify the model of Toyota pickup and narrow down the year of manufacture.

Police then identified the owners of every pickup that matched the profile and officers went to each address until they found French's truck.

"The bottom line is that there's no excuse for what I do," French said. "I made poor choices and I wasn't mature enough, man enough to own up to my actions. I am deeply sorry. I am ashamed of what I did."

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