Nelson's family & friends give testimony before Garcia’s sentencing

Nelson's family & friends give testimony before Garcia’s sentencing
ASOTIN, WA - A sentence was decided for Gilberto Alex Garcia Thursday evening, after a car crash in which he was the driver, killed a Lewiston girl.

"One life lost, one life injured, one life ruined," said Asotin County Superior Court Judge William Acey.

For Gilberto Alex Garcia, that's all that remains of a car crash that took place in late July.

"You can't bring her back," said Acey. "You can't forgive yourself for what you did. And the system won't forgive you either."

Garcia's speeding, consumption of alcohol and all the wrong circumstances led to a roll-over crash near the Clarkston Heights. The crash injured 17-year-old Tristin Harrington and killed 16-year-old Ashley Nelson.

"The Asotin County Sheriff wouldn't tell me what was going on," said victim's brother Cody Nelson. "It wasn't until I saw the body bag. I was so disturbed that I could not stand up."

Anger, resentment, sadness and sorrow filled the room as Hells Canyon Circuit Superior Court Judge William Acey heard testimonies from the audience before deciding Garcia's fate.

"That's all I got left," said victim's father Doug Nelson. "I will never walk my daughter down the aisle to get married. You can still talk to your relatives, but we can never do that again."

"Alex I want you to know that I'm not mad at you," said car crash survivor Tristin Harrington. "I'm upset that she's not here today, but I'd just like you to know that."

Knowing that not everyone felt hatred towards him, didn't keep Garcia from crying throughout the proceedings.

"I'm willing to take full responsibility for my actions," said Garcia.

"I don't know you," said victim's cousin Jenna Hatke. "I don't know your family, but I know that they're going through things that we are too and I'm sorry for that."

Garcia pleaded guilty to one count of vehicular manslaughter and one count of vehicular assault. Judge Acey sentenced him to 38 months in prison and 18 months of supervision upon his release.

"I can only pray that good things can come out of this," said victim's mother Nicolette Gotreau. "Maybe you can share your story with someone."

According to Garfield County Special Prosecutor Matt Newberg, Garcia had a 0.0 Blood Alcohol Level however he and witnesses admitted that he was drinking earlier in the evening.