Man sentenced in DUI crash that killed young Effingham boy

Man sentenced in DUI crash that killed young Effingham boy
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)

EFFINGHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - It was the final step in an absolute tragedy in Effingham County.

Thursday, the man guilty of causing a crash that killed a four-year-old boy back in 2014, plead guilty and was sentenced.

The crash happened in June of 2014, on Highway 17 near Roebling Road. It is a story that simply hurts your heart.

Forty-year-old Robert Waugh plead guilty to the DUI crash that killed the little boy and horribly injured his mother.

We were in the courtroom when the sentence was handed down. It was tough hearing from the family; hearing about four-year-old Owen Davis Rivers, and about how this tragedy could have easily been avoided. Owen's mother, Adrianna, was hurt terribly in the crash.

"Owen woke me up, like he normally would. I fed him and got him dressed," Adrianna said.

On June 6, 2014, the day started like so many others had for Adrianna and her son. What they didn't know was later that day, Robert Waugh would hit them head on while drinking and driving.

"I remember him coming at me. I remember trying to get off the road. I couldn't get off in time," she recalled.

The next thing Adrianna remembers is waking up in the hospital - her body broken.

"My dad held my hand and he told me that, 'Owen is in heaven now," she said. "I am sure any mother would say this. Owen was everything. He was all I had."

Thursday, we heard the chilling 911 tape from that day. An eye witness had seen Waugh driving recklessly minutes before the crash. Little Owen died immediately.

Adrianna had to be cut out and rushed to the hospital. They were on their way to Grandma's house when this happened.

Owen's grandmother took the stand Thursday, and shared what that moment was like when she found out.

"I said, 'what about my Owen? He said, 'Ma'am I just want you to know, Owen did not make it," said Dianna Flowers.

It has been a hard two years for this family, caused by something the state says could have been avoided. Waugh had multiple DUI arrests in the past. His license was revoked. He should have never been on the road.

"I buried my happiness with my son on June 13," said Adrianna.

Waugh, for the first time has something to say to the family.

"I have never felt so horrible or ashamed, and I hope one day you will be able to forgive me."

The family says they have forgiven him, but they still want justice.

"I know no judgment today will bring me my son back, but I ask you judge, do not let him tear another family apart," Adrianna said.

The judge agreed with the family and handed down the max sentence, which was 33 years. Waugh will be eligible for parole. When he does get out, the defense says he plans to spread his message to young people to try and prevent a tragedy like this from happening again.

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