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Man pleads no contest after DUI charges reduced

By Tyler May, tmay@krcrtv.com
Published On: May 14 2014 09:47:07 PM CDT
Updated On: May 14 2014 09:49:00 PM CDT
OROVILLE, Calif. -

Wednesday brought a new turn of events in the case of a Chico state student hit by a drunk driver in December 2012.

A felony DUI charge was reduced to a misdemeanor.

District Attorney Mike Ramsey said his office didn't have enough evidence to prosecute Matthew Lambert, the driver in this case, for felony charge.

In court, Lambert appeared before a judge to enter a no contest plea to the misdemeanor.

The District Attorney's Office said they had about a 50/50 chance of convincing a jury of the felony charge beyond a reasonable doubt. Ramsey said Lambert was at fault for hitting Brandon Fisher as he was crossing Walnut Street.

What became less clear over time is if Lambert would have had enough time to slow down and avoid hitting fisher if he was sober.

After a thorough review by Chico police and the CHP it was determined he couldn't have avoided the crash even if he had not been drinking.

"He really wasn't making good decisions when he was crossing a very dangerous spot where nobody should be,” said Kevin Sears, Lambert’s Attorney.

Sears said Lambert has been very remorseful since the incident, but Fisher made a statement to the court saying he believes Lambert saw him before hitting him.

Fisher suffered significant head injuries, multiple fractures and a shattered pelvis. He says he lost all memory from his education and spent a year re-learning how to walk, talk, eat, and breathe on his own. He believes this is unfair.

"It's good that he's getting a DUI. I mean that is one thing, but I do think he should get charged with hitting me,” said Fisher. “That should happen."

Fisher said he has surveillance video from a nearby gas station that shows him getting hit, but still, that wasn't enough to convince the District Attorney’s Office to go forward with the case.

Fisher said he has lost out on job opportunities because of his injuries.

The judge has recommended probation for Lambert. He will be in court on July 9 for his sentencing. Fisher said he would like an apology from Lambert.