PORTLAND, Ore. – A Cornelius man accused of driving drunk and causing a crash that killed one woman and injured six other people in Portland’s Old Town pleaded no contest in Multnomah County Circuit Court on Tuesday.
Brent Warstler pleaded no contest to 19 counts, including manslaughter (2nd degree), DUII, assault (4th degree) and reckless driving.
Prosecutors wanted a guilty plea, but Judge Thomas Ryan accepted Warstler’s plea. Judge Ryan will decide how much prison time Warstler will get at a sentencing hearing scheduled for Sept. 3.
Warstler faces at least 6 years and three months in prison, but he could spend much more time behind bars, depending on the judge's decision.
Prosecutors said Warstler was drunk the morning of Jan. 20 when he drove a pickup truck through a red light at the intersection of Northwest 5th Avenue and Everett Street in Old Town at around 2:30 a.m., according to police. The truck crashed into a taxi cab and pushed it onto a sidewalk, where it hit two women who were walking.
Rebecca Bray, 20, of Gresham died at the scene. Brandi Butner, 21, of Fairview, Ore. was critically injured, but survived.
Six other people were injured in the crash: Three people in Warstler's truck and another three in the taxi. None of those injuries was serious.
Warstler's blood alcohol level was 0.20 the night of the crash, tests showed.
Rebecca Bray’s mother was in the courtroom Tuesday, but did not speak. No other family members of the victims were present.
Warstler did not say anything in court. The judge allowed him to return home, where he will be required to wear a GPS monitor. He also lost his driver’s license for the rest of his life.
The families of Bray and Butner are also suing Warstler in civil court for a total of $7 million.
KATU's Bob Heye contributed to this story.