Man gets jail time for accident that paralyzed daughter

CANTON, Ohio – Action News was inside a Canton courtroom on Wednesday morning as Arturo Deleon faced a judge and explained that if he could do it all over again, he would make things right.

The teary-eyed Deleon pleaded guilty to child endangering and vehicular assault for getting into an automobile accident that paralyzed his 3-year-old daughter, Carmen. Deleon's blood-alcohol content was just under the legal limit.

"She's my best friend and she's all I got, so it's time to go on," Deleon said in court.

This past July, Deleon had Carmen in the front passenger seat of his car unrestrained. When he slammed into the car in front of him, the toddler flew forward so hard that the shape of her tiny head and blonde hair became embedded into the windshield.

Her tiny frame suffered another blow when the airbag deployed.

The overall physical trauma that she endured in the crash will lead to a lifetime of pain and paralysis.

"There's nothing I can do to change it," Deleon said. "If I could, I would. All I can do now is make her life as best as I can and hope to God that she does get better."

Judge Lee Sinclair said that he had no doubt that Deleon would trade places with his daughter if could, but he didn't go light on him. He sentenced him to two years in prison.

Sinclair said there is no doubt that the child would forgive the defendant, but that's more than he could offer up for a man who drank and climbed behind the wheel carrying the most precious cargo of all -- his little one.

"It's beyond my comprehension how somebody could do that," Sinclair said.

Deleon could have faced more prison time or as little as probation. The judge said that a drunken driving conviction 17 years ago played little role in his decision, but he did say that he wanted to send a message to the defendant and to the community at large.