BRYAN, Texas — Texas A&M sophomore Carly Beatty had a heart unlike any other.
According to Carly's Way, the animal rescue founded in her memory, she would go out of her way to care for animals in rescues who were overlooked, or close to euthanasia.
When then 17-year-old Bryan resident Pedro Puga hit Beatty with his car in September of 2019, he took not only a life, but the potential of a future veterinarian, who could have saved thousands of lives herself.
“We’ve heard from a lot of community members," said Cindy Kovar, program manager for the Brazos Valley Injury Prevention Coalition.
"A lot of [Texas A&M] students knew Carly,
"She was well-liked, and obviously very well missed... so a lot of people’s lives were affected by her loss,
"Especially as they continue to be with her family and friends.”
Brazos County Prosecutor Brian Price has worked much of this case, and was there on Monday when Puga was sentenced to 15 years in prison for manslaughter.
“This was a horrendous crime, what he did," Price said.
"His behavior afterward was horrendous,
"Once he was taken into custody, he was mouthy, he was cussing at the officers, he was very nonchalant about what had happened,
"He was much more concerned about what his bond was going to be and what would happen to him."
According to the district attorney's office, Puga’s bloodwork showed that while he had only a small amount of alcohol in his system - just under four percent blood alcohol, hours following the incident - he had also consumed THC and a drug chemically similar to Xanax.
“So taking two or more drugs of any type, and we’re going to consider alcohol a drug, is incredibly dangerous, as a substance will often interfere with how the body responds to the other," said Kovar.
Though Puga was young at the time of the offense, Price said that his choices, including the decision to leave Beatty lying on the sidewalk as he fled the area, garnered the multi-year prison sentence.
Even with Puga pleading guilty and reaching a plea agreement, Price noted that 15 years is still a close sentence to the 20-year maximum.
The Beatty family are quoted in a district attorney press release:
“We are relieved that the perpetrator admitted guilt and will be serving time," the family stated.
"We are devastated that our beautiful daughter Carly had her life taken from her at such a young age and is now unable to fulfill her dreams of becoming a veterinarian. In her honor, we have opened a nonprofit called Carly’s Way to continue her dream. Please visit www.Carlysway.Org.”