Jury finds Colunga guilty, sentenced to 14 years



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Posted on August 9, 2013 at 5:16 PM

Updated Saturday, Aug 10 at 5:19 PM

AUSTIN -- A jury has sentenced an Austin man to a 14-year prison term after a hit and run accident that left three people injured last year.

Nicholas Colunga listened as the sentence was read Friday for charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, intoxication assault, and failure to stop and render aid.

On Thursday the jury found him guilty of those multiple charges relating to drunk driving, hitting three people and then driving away last year. One of them is Kylie Doniak, a former University of Texas soccer star. She still suffers from a traumatic brain injury.

During Friday's sentencing phase Doniak said, 'Justice is served. The legal system did its job. God is the ultimate judge. You can change this now. Believe and seek God."

KVUE's cameras were not allowed in court during Friday’s sentencing.

Inside, Nicholas Colunga took the stand for the first time. He admits to drinking 10 to 15 beers plus shots of liquor the night he drove home from a downtown bar and hit Doniak and her friends. He also told jurors he wrote Doniak an apology letter, and he does not remember hitting her.

"I apologize to the people I've hurt," Colunga said during the victims panel statement phase of Friday's sentencing.

State prosecutors questioned Colunga’s remorse, explaining this is Colunga’s second time in his life he’s been behind the wheel and didn’t remember the crash.

During closing arguments Thursday, Colunga’s defense attorney said charges were over-reaching. They alluded that the DA’s office is trying to appear tough on DUI crimes because their boss, Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, now faces an alcohol-related offense.

“There’s reason why the DA’s office is taking 'yes' for an answer, the recent debacles and embarrassment is definitely one of them,” defense attorney Amber Vazquez Bode said.

"And as the defense is trying to talk about political things, that has nothing to do with you all are here for. You all cannot control what is going on outside our community right now. It doesn’t matter," Travis County prosecutor Amy Meredith said.

For count one he will serve seven years and pay a $500 fine. For count two he will serve 14 years for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and pay a $1,000 fine. On count three he will serve 10 years for intoxication assault and pay a $500 fine. Finally, for count four he will serve seven years for failure to stop and render aid and pay a $500 fine.

Colunga will serve the 14 years concurrently. He will be eligible for parole in 7 years. He has also been ordered to pay $2,500 in fines.