Feb. 3-LEWISTON - An Auburn man whose loss of control over a motorcycle caused a jogger's leg to be amputated admitted Friday to a felony charge stemming from the crash.
Mason Perez, 29, appeared in 8th District Court where a judge sentenced him to four years in prison on a charge of aggravated driving to endanger, but suspended all of that time.
He was ordered to be on probation for two years, the first nine months of which will be under house arrest because he uses a wheelchair because of a later crash and he can't be accommodated by the local jail, according to prosecutors.
Assistant District Attorney Patricia Mador said Tyrone Fulgham, who was 52 years old on Sept. 23, 2021, was an avid runner who had been jogging up a hill on the South Witham Road in Auburn around 5 p.m., following all of the traffic laws.
At the same time, Perez was driving up the other side of that hill on a 2015 Kawasaki Vulcan motorcycle that he wasn't licensed to operate, Mador said.
As Perez crested the hill, he spotted Fulgham and laid down the motorcycle, which slid into Fulgham, amputating one of his legs, Mador said.
Three men at a nearby golf course hurried to the scene and secured a tourniquet to Fulgham's leg to limit his blood loss before he was taken to a local hospital for further treatment, Mador said.
The actions of the three men "probably prevented this from becoming more of a tragedy than it already is," Mador said.
The posted speed limit on that road was 30 mph; Perez's speed was estimated at between 55 mph and 59 mph, Mador said.
Blood analysis showed THC, the psychoactive ingredient of cannabis, in Perez's system at the time of the crash, she said.
Fulgham, who appeared in the courtroom surrounded by family members, said Friday that his "life was changed instantly" on the day of the crash "because of the careless and reckless actions" of Perez.
"Your honor, imagine something you do almost everyday is instantly taken away from you and you can never do it again," he said. "That is what happened to me that day. Running, to me, was like breathing. It was a part of everything that I did."
He used to run five miles a day, but now has trouble walking a short distance, he said, due to pain in his back and leg.
Fulgham is a member of a local running group and is well-known for his participation in local marathons and fundraisers.
He has since been fitted for a prosthetic leg.
Perez escaped injury in the crash.
During his two years of probation, Perez will be barred from operating a motor vehicle, all-terrain vehicle or snowmobile. His license was suspended for two years.
Fulgham's medical bills from the crash were "astronomical," Mador said, noting she had spoken with his attorney who represents him in a civil suit.
Perez also pleaded guilty Friday to a charge of operating under the influence from last year stemming from a crash in which he struck a utility pole and was paralyzed, Mador said.
On that charge, he was sentenced to a $500 fine and a 150-day loss of license.
Through his attorney, Perez told the judge he took full responsibility and was sorry for his actions.
Other less serious charges related to the two cases were dismissed.