On Friday, Aaron Horsley asked the man who put him in a wheelchair for an apology from accused drug dealer Pedro Gaspar Tellado Oviedo.
Two years after the incident that left their lives forever intertwined, the pair faced each other across a San Bernardino County Superior Court courtroom in Victorville on Friday morning.
Oviedo was there for his sentencing hearing, having pled guilty to a charge of hit and run causing permanent bodily injury.
On October 10, 2007, Horsley was a 17-year-old Hesperia High School senior planning on joining the Army after graduation and then the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. After months of saving and financial help from his family, he had purchased a used Kawasaki KX 450 motorcycle the day before.
The Horsley family lives on the edge of Hesperia -- across the street is open desert -- and he and his friends had been riding motorcycles in the desert and were headed home at 4:55 p.m. when it happened.
The white Chevrolet Silverado pick-up truck struck Horsley, and the new motorcycle became wedged in the truck's underbody, with Horsley dangling upside down, his helmet and hands in direct contact with the asphalt.
Oviedo drove 100 yards from the intersection of Melbourne Avenue and Kimball Street, swerving back and forth in an apparent attempt to dislodge the high school student trapped under his vehicle, pursued by Horsley's friends, who yelled for him to stop the truck.
Horsley came free and Oviedo took off.
While Horsley lay in Loma Linda University Medical Center, where doctors fought to save his life, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department detectives located the truck and found DNA evidence linking the truck to Oviedo. They questioned him, but before they could arrest him for the hit-and-run and the marijuana they found packaged for sale in his home, he fled the state, apparently heading for Miami.
But two years later, he was back in Southern California, and on May 25, he was arrested in Los Angeles for possession of marijuana for sale and passing bad checks.
Friday morning, Horsley finally got the chance to tell Oviedo just what he had done to him on that October day.
"I wanted to commit suicide a few times, because I thought my life was over," said Horsley. "I believe in God and know you have to forgive people, but I think it's going to be hard unless he can look at me and say he did it, and not just because he got caught.
"In the beginning, I had a lot of hate ... but I just want to get on with my life and maybe in 10, 20 years, I'll be able to walk again."
Next year, the Horsley family will be taking him to Mexico for experimental stem cell treatments on his spine, in the hopes that they can repair the damage done to his spinal cord.
"I just want him to admit to me, in person, what he did to me, and [that] he's not innocent like he said."
"Mr. Williamson," Judge John M. Tomberlin asked Oviedo's public defender, "Does your client want to make any comment?"
Herb Williamson and his client quietly conferred with the help of a Spanish language translator.
"No, your honor," Williamson replied.
"It sounds like you've got a lot of spunk and a lot of heart," Tomberlin told Horsley, before passing sentence. "You can't set a requirement for someone else for the gift of forgiveness. It's for you to give and not anyone else."
Oviedo received a sentence of three years. He had faced a maximum five-year sentence if a jury had sentenced him to the maximum term.
Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at email@example.com. Follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/HesperiaStar.