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Man found guilty of hitting paramedic sentenced to 20 years in prison

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Posted at 5:50 PM, Jul 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-18 13:39:28-04

A McLennan County jury sentenced a man accused of intoxication assault to 20 years in prison. 

Witness testimony began on Tuesday in the trial of a man accused of intoxication assault on a public servant on Aug. 19.

Alec Nava, the man accused of intoxication assault on a public servant, hit ETMC paramedic Rory Barros last year. Sixty jurors were summoned for this trial, but that number has been narrowed down to 12. 

During a pretrial hearing on July 6, Nava entered a guilty plea. Now it's up to the jury to decide if he gets two to 20 years in jail or probation for this felony offense.

Nava drove his car into Barros while he was on the job on Aug. 19 while he was working another wreck. The accident left Barros fighting for his life.

On Tuesday, witnesses took the stand. About a dozen people gave their testimony, including Barros and his wife Amy.

An army of support followed them into the courtroom. Fellow paramedics, firefighters and police officers filled up about half of the seats. 

Barros told the jury that he remembers sliding against the road after being struck by the vehicle. He said he "heard grinding noises" and that it "felt like his body was on fire".

When state attorneys asked how Barros felt sitting in front of the man who hurt him, he said it was tough to not have had hard feelings.

"He sees exactly what he's done and what he's cost me," Barros said.

Barros has had more than a dozen surgeries since, including the amputation of his leg. He also said he and his wife were trying to have a baby before the accident. He said they won't be able to try again for the next two years due to all of his procedures and the medications he's on. 

"I don't wish ill upon him, but in the same case he does need to serve something for his actions," Barros said.

When Amy took the stand, she talked about the hardships her husband has faced and the fear she felt when he was close to death.

"He didn't maliciously try and kill my husband on purpose," Amy said. "He made a wrong choice and that choice almost killed my husband, but we all have to be responsible for the choices that we make.

Barros' paramedic partner, Camille Gonzalez, also spoke. She was the one Barros pushed out of the way when the car was flying towards them.

"He's a brother to me," Gonzalez said. "I trust him with my life, 100 percent."

Dash cam video provided by Waco Police was also shown as evidence. Many people in the courtroom were brought to tears as they watched Barros slam against the ambulance after being struck by the vehicle. Gonzalez can be heard screaming as others frantically rushed to help Barros. 

Gonzalez was in PTSD therapy after the accident and took almost a month off work since she couldn't drive near the scene of the crash.

Officer Troy Sandifer with the Waco Police Department was also on scene during the accident and testified today. He said he was the first one to approach Nava after the accident.

He found an open container of beer in Nava's cup holder and an opened case of beer in the backseat. He said Nava's eyes were bloodshot and that he could smell the alcohol on his breath. Officer Sandifer said his speech was slurred and that he had difficulty answering his questions.

A forensic scientist with the Department of Public Safety in Waco said Nava's blood alcohol level was approximately twice the legal limit, a 0.225 compared to a 0.08.  

According to her calculations, she said it would take about 10 beers to bring Nava to that point. 

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