PASCAGOULA -- A former medical technician at Ocean Springs Hospital apologized Thursday before he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for being legally drunk when his vehicle struck an 85-year-old woman, resulting in serious injuries.
"I apologize to the court and the people of Jackson County," Stephen Brown, 55, told Circuit Judge Dale Harkey. "I've been going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and I'm here because of nobody's fault but my own,"
Harkey commended Brown for accepting responsibility but noted the seriousness of the crime before he also fined Brown $1,000 and ordered him to pay a $100 special assessment fee.
Brown was looking for a parking spot in the Ocean Springs Wal-Mart parking lot when his mini-van struck the back of a car parked in the handicapped lane on May 24, 2013.
The victim, Velma Bambarger, of Ocean Springs, was sitting in the passenger seat of the vehicle when it was struck and got out to see what kind of damage was done to her car.
Brown said he thought he put his van in park once it struck the car but instead it was in reverse and slammed into Bambarger.
The van ran over one of Bambarger's arms, splitting it open, and forced her to hit her head on a concrete barrier in the parking lot. Brown's van slammed into the store's garden center.
Both Brown and Bambarger were hospitalized. Bambarger underwent extensive treatment, including surgery.
Bambarger and her family were unable to attend the sentencing, but Assistant District Attorney Cherie Wade said they were pleased with the time Brown had to serve for the crime.
"They just want to put this behind them and moved forward," she said.
Taylor said he'd also told Brown there were several defenses they could use if he went to trial, but Brown insisted on pleading guilty.
Once Brown saw the video of the incident, his attorney, Calvin Taylor said, "He felt terrible about the accident."
At the time of the crash, Brown said he was working as a medical technician at Ocean Springs Hospital, but lost his job as a result of the incident.
He said he'd since gone to work at McDonald's just to have a job. Brown has a bachelor's degree in Information Technology from the University of Maryland.