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Motorcycle driver sentenced for slamming into Auburn runner

Tyrone Fulgham, who lost his right leg, addressed the man who hit him in court.

LEWISTON, Maine — Tyrone Fulgham was close to death after being hit by a motorcycle while jogging in Auburn in September of 2021. 

The father of three lost his leg and underwent 8 different surgeries. The driver of that motorcycle, Mason Perez, was sentenced Friday after pleading guilty to causing the crash.  

Fulgham, a lifelong runner, said he can finally move on knowing Perez may not ever be able to get behind the wheel again.

"I have gone from running five to eight miles a day to barely walking without nagging pain in my back, my surgically repaired left ankle, and nerve pain in my limb," Fulgham said.  

Police said Perez was speeding when he lost control of his motorcycle. The motorcycle skidded more than 100 feet hitting Tyrone Fulgham, who was training for a marathon along South Witham Road in Auburn. 

He lost his right leg after suffering numerous injuries. After that accident, Perez was behind the wheel when he hit a utility pole. Prosecutors said at the time, his blood alcohol was above the legal limit.

"The defendant's paralysis is a result of the injuries he sustained in that crash," Patricia Mador, the Androscoggin County Assistant District Attorney, said.  

With his children, family members, and friends looking on, Tyrone addressed Perez in court for the first time since the devastating accident. 

"His injuries were self-inflicted. He had a choice I did not," Fulgham said. 

"Mr. Perez has authorized me to say he takes full responsibility and is sorry for his actions," Gregory LeClerc, Perez's attorney, told Androscoggin District Judge Jennifer Archer. 

As part of a plea agreement, the 29-year-old pled guilty to driving to endanger resulting in serious injury, a felony. It's a sentence that does not include time behind bars, because the Androscoggin Country jail can't accommodate his disability.

"Four years suspended, two years probation, with the first nine months of probation being under house arrest," Archer announced from the bench. 

Archer also imposed other conditions. Perez is barred from operating a car, snowmobile, or ATV, his license is suspended for 2 years, plus a $575 fine. Fulgham, who had to learn to walk again with a prosthetic leg, agreed to a plea deal, but questions if Perez is truly sorry.

"For him to be off the road is a relief not only to me but to a lot of people," Fulgham said.

Shanitra Fulgham said her father's battle with medical bills is far from over. 

"We are going to be needing to raise money. One prosthetic doesn't last for your life. You have to continuously get more and more, and insurance is not going to cover that," Shanitra said. 

Fulgham is not giving up his dream to race competitively again one day. He plans to start training with a hand cycle with hopes of entering the Boston Marathon. 

"I am going to get in, hopefully in 2024," Fulgham said, enthusiastically.

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