Deena Vest dies six-years after tragic wreck - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Deena Vest dies six-years after tragic wreck

Visitation for one-time registered nurse Deena Vest is tonight. She died Friday, six-years after the traffic accident that left her paralyzed.

Former Memphis police officer Leighton George, Jr., was convicted of DUI assault and sentenced to time in prison for the 1999 crash that left Deena Vest paralyzed.

Now, he's listed as a parolee in Mississippi.

George will not face more criminal charges since Vest has died, but the attorney representing her family says a civil trial is pending.

Rick Sparkman told Action News 5 this morning that the Vest family "will amend the civil lawsuit to allege wrongful death," a change from the "negligence" claim attorneys had been focused on.

The crash happened years ago, but the details are still fresh in the minds of many Mid-Southerners.

Vest was on her way to Methodist University Hospital where she worked as a nurse when George's car crashed into her Jeep.

Vest ended up in a ravine, injured and alone for eight hours in freezing weather before help arrived.

George said he never saw Vest's jeep. He claimed the car he hit drove away.

"I feel horrible about what's happened to this poor young lady and her family and there's not been a day that's passed that I have not thought about it or my family has not thought and prayed about it and we will continue praying about it," George said in 2000.

Vest spent five-weeks in intensive care and even longer in a rehabilitation center where she learned to communicate by blinking.

It took jurors just three-hours to convict George of DUI assault.

Deena Vest's family was there to hear the guilty verdict.

"Putting this man in jail for life will not change the situation, but I did want it to be known that he was guilty, and for him to finally be admitted guilty that's the main thing I wanted. The rest of it is whatever comes comes," Deena's husband Terry Vest said in 2000.

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