Man gets probation in DUI-related crash at DSU homecoming

 

DOVER — A former Delaware State University football player and graduate received two years probation Thursday for an Oct. 28, 2015 DUI-related vehicle crash that injured several people during homecoming weekend.

Maryland resident Gregory E. Ligon’s Mercedes Benz careened out of control during a parallel parking attempt on campus, striking several bystanders, pinning one to a tree before stopping.

While Superior Court Judge Robert B. Young found Mr. Ligon’s actions extremely irresponsible, they were not reckless or intentional.

Convicted charges included first-degree vehicular assault, four counts of second-degree vehicular assault, and driving under the influence of alcohol.

Level II and III probation were each ordered for a year, with Level I status to be served concurrently. A $500 fine on the drunken driving conviction was ordered, plus surcharges and fees.

The defendant could face up to eight years imprisonment if probation conditions are violated.

The Court cited Ligon’s previously clean record and “astounding” level of support in announcing his decision, and noted that “This is a matter that is better served by the civil side of things.

“My understanding that this is in the process.”

The judge delayed ordering restitution into any civil action was completed. An attorney representing severely injured victim Shianta Moore said a lawsuit would be filed within 24 hours of sentencing.

Before the announcement, the 21-year-old Ms. Moore delivered a victim impact statement that described the suffering and continued aftermath from a life-changing event in her senior year attending DSU. Besides eight months of hospital stays, Ms. Moore said she lost an internal organ, has chronic pain, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks and depression “and that is just the tip of the ice berg …”

Gregory E. Ligon.

While the victim did not believe the crash warranted Mr. Ligon serving the maximum seven years in prison, she believed eight months of jail time would approximate the time she spent “in a bed that was not my own, and was not comfortable …

“I believe he needs to know what that feels like so he will never even think about driving under the influence or relying solely on a safety feature again.”

Ligon before Court

Prior to sentencing, Ligon spoke before the Court and expressed that he was “truly sorry” and has “learned a lesson” since then. When going out with friends and drinking alcohol a “couple times” following the accident, Ligon said he never drove.

The judge ordered Ligon not to drink alcohol during his probation, and said regular testing would ensue. An alcohol counseling program was required, along with an ignition interlock device. Defense attorney Joseph Hurley said the Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles would not issue a device to a vehicle with an out of state license.

Throughout the case, Ligon maintained that a faulty safety feature designed to place a vehicle in park when a driver exits with the vehicle in gear malfunctioned.

Judge Young described that reasoning as “not very well-taken” due to the defendant’s lack of reading an owner’s manual.

Mr. Hurley described the vehicle’s Mercedes manufacturer as the “elephant in the room” regarding the safety device and believed it would settle claims as a defendant.

Deputy Attorney General Sean Motoyoshi said Ligon “fails to accept responsibility for his actions.

“He blames other people, his lawyer, the prosecutor, he blames to car and safety features that didn’t operate.”

Ms. Moore’s statements before the Court, “Said it all,” Mr. Motoyoshi said.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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