Prosecutors reduce Lambert DUI charges

May 14, 2014 7:53 PM

On a December night in 2012, the life of Brandon Fisher was changed forever. While crossing the street at Walnut and West 1st Streets in Chico, he was hit by a drunk driver.

Law enforcement initially charged the driver, Matthew Lambert, with a felony DUI, but after further analysis his charges were reduced. "More sophisticated equipment that did a frame by frame analysis showed that it threw real doubt on that speed estimation. In fact, it looked like it was much more the 35 miles an hour which was the speed limit," explained Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey. Without the fact that Lambert was speeding, the charged were reduced to a misdemeanor DUI. "The law requires that we show that injury was a result of a non-DUI traffic violation such as speeding."

Law enforcement also has doubt whether any driver could have avoided Fisher that night. "It was determined that perhaps even a sober person would have been unable to avoid the collision at 2 AM in the morning on that particular stretch of road," said Ramsey. Without solid evidence, prosecutors felt they didn't have a case to pursue further charges. "When we look at proving to a jury beyond reasonable doubt that he was able to avoid that collision with Mr. Fisher, the unfortunate pedestrian, it is our estimation that we could not show that."

Even though felony charges were dropped, prosecutors say this accident was a tragic event. "It was just an unfortunate circumstance that particular night.”

Sentencing was pushed back to July 9th. In the meantime, the family plans on filing a civil action lawsuit.


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