Six months behind bars and ten years probation, that's what a Texas Tech student faces after pleading guilty to intoxicated assault. Two years ago, then 20-year-old Travis Gilpin drove his truck into a Lubbock home, pinning a 10-year-old girl under his truck when police tested his blood alcohol level, they found it was twice the legal limit.
Gilpin a Tech student, then moved home to Austin, but within a year he came back to Lubbock and enrolled in school again. That's when the family moved because of nightmares and fear of running into Gilpin around town. Moving away wasn't closure, however today was the first step.
In a Lubbock courtroom Thursday Travis Gilpin plead guilty to intoxicated assault. He apologized for the first time to Siera Hanson and her family, but had no comment for the media, his lawyer however said it was a sad day.
"Its a sad day for a young man like Travis, a very good young man who had a night of irresponsibility to be facing a felony conviction for the rest of his life, so I'm not pleased, I'm sad to know that this day has arrived. But more importantly I think it's important to note that Travis has always been responsible and accountable for what occurred, he feels terrible for the harm that he has caused Siera and her family and is truly remorseful for that," said Danny Hurley, Gilpin's Lawyer.
It was a statement that Siera Hanson and her family couldn't understand. "That really crushed and ruined the healing that could've been achieved today (Thursday)," said Sam Fadduol, Victims' family lawyer.
|Statement From the Siera Hanson Family|
"We're at the beginning of healing and then all of a sudden it was all about Travis again, and what's best for Travis, not what we've been through as a family," says Julie Garner, Siera's mom.
For Siera, the nightmares are over but she still has back pains, and recovering from her broken ribs, collapsed lung and ruptured spleen. "Today in the courtroom, we were all sad and crying but it wasn't necessarily sadness it was more joyful to us because we knew something was finally happening and we knew something was finally happening to him, and when he came up to us, I don't know I mean I appreciate that he tried to apologize," Siera Hanson said.
"When we were in there it was joy that it was finally ending some of it but it was also sadness, for him because he just made a bad choice two years ago and now he's where he is today and he could've done better and made the right choice and none of us would be suffering from the bad choice he made and what we had to go through," Shiloh Hanson, Siera's sister said.
Travis Gilpin's sentence includes, six months in the Lubbock County Correctional Facility, then ten years probation. The probation includes, his driver's license suspended for one year, a breathalyzer added to his vehicle, he's not allowed to go to any establishment that primarily sells liquor, he has to attend weekly AA meetings, and will have random urine testing.