PORTLAND, Ore. – A man accused of crashing into a pregnant woman's car while high on meth and heroin was found guilty Thursday of DUII, assault in the second degree and reckless driving.
Jack Whiteaker took the stand in his own defense and tried to convince the jury that he wasn't the person who hit the car of then-19-year-old Cayla Wilson, who is now 21, leaving her in a vegetative state.
The crash almost killed Wilson and left her unable to care for her little daughter who was born four months premature.
The jury deliberated for less than an hour.
The prosecutor said Whiteaker had high levels of meth in his system and syringes in his SUV with a mix of meth and his blood.
"I don't know about the syringes; I don't know where the hell they came from," Whiteaker said.
"He was high as a kite. He drove off the road. He drove too fast," said prosecutor Chuck Sparks.
Whiteaker showed the jury pictures of the crash. He claimed he did not hit Wilson’s car but another car did.
And in his view, common sense showed his SUV could not have done the kind of damage that occurred.
At times he rambled and appeared to roll his eyes. He wanted to give his own closing arguments. But the judge told him it was a bad idea.
"I think it's foolish for you to represent yourself," the judge said.
"I got just a few things I’ve got to say. ... I'm just going to be foolish," Whiteaker responded.
In the end, his attorney gave the closing argument but Whiteaker himself did get a chance to speak.
"The reason why I want to testify is the fact that I want the truth to be known. That way, no matter what happened, I will not be disappointed in myself," he said. “I had a chance to speak up in my own defense with the truth. I did not lie to you about anything, so help me God."
After being found guilty, Whiteaker still denied to the media that he hit Wilson; instead, he said, while he was on the same road as Wilson at the same time, he "gently" hit a mystery yellow car that drove off. He then over-corrected and ended up in a ditch.
He admitted he took meth the day before, but his defense attorney argued that even if his client was on meth at the time he knew how much he could tolerate and, therefore, was not impaired.
Wilson’s parents, Billy and Denise, sobbed uncontrollably as the verdict was read.
After the verdict, Wilson's parents thank their supporters and the jury.
"It's a good day right now," Denise Wilson said.