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CASPER — A 28-year-old man admitted in court Monday to seriously injuring a close friend last August when he capped off a day of drinking with a near-fatal car crash.

In exchange for his guilty plea to driving under the influence causing serious bodily injury, prosecutors dismissed an aggravated-assault charge against Jeffrey White Eagle.

“I was drinking, and I chose to get behind the wheel of a vehicle, and, as a result of that, a good friend of mine was seriously injured and in intensive care for three weeks,” White Eagle told Natrona County District Judge Scott Skavdahl.

White Eagle’s attorney, Wade Redmon, told the court that, on the night of the crash, his client had a blood-alcohol content of .23, nearly three times Wyoming’s legal limit.

White Eagle faces up to 10 years in prison when sentenced.

He remains free on $10,000 bond.

On the night of Aug. 3, a Ford truck White Eagle was driving struck a tree off CY Avenue near Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, according to a police affidavit. Officers who responded to the crash found White Eagle and another man — later determined to have been passenger Richard Charbonneau — lying on the ground beside the wreckage.

Witnesses told police that, in the moments leading to the one-vehicle crash, the vehicle White Eagle was driving was “all over the road” and at one point traveling east in the westbound lane, according to police.

After being treated at the scene, both of the men were taken to Wyoming Medical Center.

The passenger was placed in intensive care in critical condition with severe injuries to his neck and his abdomen, according to police. He subsequently underwent several surgeries and spent 22 days in the hospital.

White Eagle suffered several bruises and minor abrasions in the crash, according to court documents.

White Eagle had appeared in court twice with the aid of crutches before Monday. During his change-of-plea hearing, though, the Casper resident walked with no assistance.

He told officers he drank for about seven hours on the day of crash, consuming a six-pack of beer at a local golf course and three mixed drinks at a bar, according to police.

Redmon told Skavdahl on Monday that his client has been in an in-house rehabilitation treatment program in Sheridan since Dec. 3 and has had “no problems.”

Contact William Browning at 307-266-0534 or william.browning@trib.com

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