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Published: Thursday, November 15, 2007, 12:01 a.m.

Tough sentence for injuring officer

19-year-old man who caused crash to serve 7 years

  • Alan Brian Waterman (center), 19, looks back at his family Wednesday as Snohomish County corrections officers take him from the courtroom. Following W...

    Dan Bates / The Herald

    Alan Brian Waterman (center), 19, looks back at his family Wednesday as Snohomish County corrections officers take him from the courtroom. Following Waterman are his attorneys, Max Harrison (left) and Peter Isbister.

EVERETT -- Suzanne Eviston has never seen the man who left her body so broken. She chose to keep it that way on Wednesday.
The Everett police officer wasn't in the courtroom where Alan Brian Waterman, 19, was sentenced to seven years in prison for the July 15 crash that nearly killed Eviston and her police dog partner, Axel.
Eviston continues to recover from multiple injuries and wasn't up to attending the hearing, Everett police detective Craig Davis said. She had hoped to return to work on light duty next month, but it's unclear whether that will be possible.
"Officer Eviston doesn't hold any ill will against the suspect. She's been very understanding about the case," he said.
She recognizes that people make mistakes, but she also believes Waterman should be held accountable, Davis said.
Waterman was driving a stolen Jeep Cherokee and fleeing from the scene of a burglary when he crashed into Eviston's patrol car. He admitted to smoking methamphetamine before he and two companions broke into a fenced area of a business.
Deputy prosecutor Ed Stemler asked Superior Court Judge Larry McKeeman to impose a prison sentence on the high end of the standard sentencing range. Waterman has a lengthy criminal history and faced numerous other charges at the time of the crash.
Waterman's attorney, Max Harrison, argued for less time for his client because of Waterman's age and willingness to take responsibility for his actions. Waterman told the judge that he comes from a good family but has struggled with drugs.
"It was never my intention to hurt anyone," Waterman said. "I'm truly sorry for hurting this lady and her dog."
McKeeman sided with Stemler. He said he believed Waterman was sorry and didn't intend to crash into Eviston, but the teen's bad choices caused serious damage to Eviston and the officers who tried to rescue her.
During Wednesday's hearing, Everett police officer Michael Braley recounted the horrific crash that nearly killed his colleague and friend. Braley was driving behind Eviston's car and watched it happen. Braley thought Eviston was dead.
He clawed his way into the burning car to try to pull her free. She was wedged inside. Flames shot out of the front of the car. Other officers tried to extinguish the flames. Braley wrestled her off the seat but her foot was caught.
"I'm trying to get my friend out of the car and I thought I'd have to sit there and watch her burn to death," he said. "I couldn't get her out of the car."
Firefighters arrived and Braley stayed inside the car with Eviston. He cradled her and covered her face to protect her from the breaking glass as firefighters peeled back the roof to reach the severely injured officer and her dog.
Davis, an experienced traffic investigator, couldn't understand how anyone could have survived the crash.
"The only reason she's here today is because of luck and the other officers there," Davis said.
Story tags » EverettPolice

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