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DWI victim confronts woman who put him in wheelchair

A convicted drunk driver and the young man she badly injured faced each other for the first time in a Fort Worth courtroom on Wednesday.
After pleading guilty to driving while drunk, Erica Kolanowski, left, wept on the witness stand as Matt Lundy listened. He is confined to a wheelchair as a result of injuries suffered in the accident that she caused.

FORT WORTH Matt Lundy thought he was ready to face the drunk driver who put him in a wheelchair, and put his friend Josh Carter in the grave.

Lundy's ever-present smile disappeared and the 22-year-old broke into tears shortly after taking the witness stand against Erica Kolanowski in a Tarrant County courtroom Wednesday afternoon.

The judge declared a brief recess. Then Lundy spoke with a thin voice and slurred speech.

He told jurors his life goals now were simply to walk and talk normally again.Kolanowski sobbed, as did many others inthe courtroom.

Kolanowski pleaded guilty, but asked jurors for probation.She wept on the witness stand, telling Lundy she was sorry for hurting him.

She also apologized to JoshCarter's family.

Kolanowski's friends and family testified that she hasn't driven or had a drink since the accident. They also said she overdosed on prescription drugs to try to take her own life after the crash.

Lundy was unmoved.

Kolanowski's blood alcohol level was well over twice the legal limit when she ran a red light in Arlington in January 2009. She broadsided Matt's car at more than 70 mph.

In the hallway, waiting for the jury to deliver a punishment verdict, Lundy said he did not believe Kolanowski is truly remorseful.

His mother said it would be devastating if the defendant received probation.

Kolanowski has no prior DWI convictions. She faces punishment ranging from probation to 20 years in prison.

Jurors deliberated for about two hours before recessing until Thursday.

E-mail jdouglas@wfaa.com

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