Oklahoma Family Shocked At Plea In Fatal DUI Crash
MAYES COUNTY, Oklahoma - A family is in shock after a hearing in Mayes County ended with a different plea than expected.
Derlin Lara, an illegal immigrant from Honduras, is accused of the drinking and driving crash that killed 20-year-old Kendra Gonzales last April.
The OHP report says Lara slammed into Kendra Gonzalez and Amanda Scott's car head-on while driving the wrong way down Highway 20 just east of Pryor.
In a surprising turn of events, Lara decided not to plead guilty and, instead, made an Alford plea, which means he waives his right to a trial but does not admit guilt.
Gonzalez died on impact and Scott was critically injured.
"They did surgery on this hand and put a pin and I just broke this pinky," Scott said. “I hit something in the car that made my teeth stick straight out of my mouth so I've had extensive surgery to correct the broken piece of jaw that I have. I now have a jaw brace I wear."
In the report, troopers say Lara admitted drinking, "mas cervezas."
Still recovering from her injuries, Scott spoke about the process she’s gone through.
"It's very overwhelming because not even ten feet sits the man that took your best friend’s life from you, and about took your own, and all you can do is sit there and hope it's over as soon as possible," she said.
While she still has several surgeries to go, Scott said the worst part is losing her best friend.
“I pray. That’s about the only thing I can do,” she said.
Kendra's mother, Brenda Branson, said the whole process is just hard to handle.
"I'm frustrated, angry, mad...I'm really mad," she said. "He has his life, and I don't think it's fair that the last place I got to see my daughter was in a coffin, and I never get to see her again."
Lara’s sentencing is set for May 18th.