DUI driver sentenced for hitting Chico State student
OROVILLE, Calif. - On December 8, 2012, Chico State student Brandon Fisher was crossing Nord Avenue to get to his apartment in Chico early in the morning when Matthew Lambert hit him while drunk behind the wheel.
Fisher suffered a traumatic brain injury in the crash. He was five classes away from his degree and lost memory of his education. "Brandon has had everything taken away from him for doing the right thing and walking home that night," Fisher's mother, Juline Hobbs testified to the court. "How could you not see him with his bright yellow shirt on, and the street light shining on him? All of this happened so fast and changed our families' world." Hobbs testified her son now has the reading level of a third grader, had to re-learn his motor skills, and has developed a short temper. "It was then that I finally began to mourning the death of my son of his life before," said Hobbs. "I accepted that were given the gift of Brandon with a new personality." Hobbs also testified that the Lamberts tried to reach out them when Fisher was at Enloe Medical Center hours after the accident. She said Lambert's mother told her they sent her flowers and their phone number and asked if Lambert could visit Fisher. "The hospital never passed on their number to us, and we never received the flowers that were delivered to us," said Lambert.
Enloe Medical Center released a statement saying: "We regularly deliver flowers and messages to patients and their families and we recognize that these messages can oftentimes make a difference for them. Unfortunately in the time that has passed, we cannot recall or confirm whether a message was received or delivered in this case. If we failed to pass along the message, we are sorry."
During the sentencing, Fisher came up to say a few words to Lambert. "I'm out of college with no degree or job offers anymore," said Fisher. "Everything that I worked for is gone."
Fisher testified he had plans to go back to Chico State and finish getting his degree, but his therapist told him it would be difficult for him to do so. "When I was told this, it brought tears to my eyes and I couldn't stop thinking about how my life has been ruined in this situation," said Fisher The defense told the court Lambert should not take the full blame because Fisher had a .25 blood alcohol content and crossed the street unsafely. "I think we have to be honest and that the responsibility of this accident needs to be assigned properly," said Lambert's attorney, Kevin Sears. The judge sentenced Lambert to 60 months of probation and serve 45 days in the Butte County Jail.
Both families said they would like to have Lambert and Fisher meet and discuss the incident.