Eaton Sentenced To Prison For Negligent Homicide
On Thursday, Dec. 15, Judge David W. Hummel sentenced 48-year-old Calvin Donald Eaton, of Wheeling, to one day short of discharge of the statutory maximum, which is one year, for the offense of negligent homicide. Eaton was also fined $500 and was ordered to complete two years of home confinement, with GPS tracking, following the prison sentence. While on probation, Eaton will have to attend AA meetings and any psychological services deemed necessary and appropriate by the probation officer.
“Mr . Eaton, I will acknowledge that you have been one of the most, if not the most, remorseful individuasl I’ve had before me,” Judge Hummel stated to the defendant.
“I believe it to be genuine, but genuinely I can’t do anything but incarcerate you sir, which is not nearly as bad as what your going through in your head already,” Hummel said to Eaton, wishing him good luck.
Eaton had been indicted by the September 2016 Grand Jury for “driving in an impaired state causing death.” The charge stemmed from an automobile collission on November 24, 2015, resulting in the death of a 61-year-old man. A tanker truck, driven by Eaton, went off the right side of the road for an unknown reason. The tanker then came back on to the road, but crossed the center line, striking a 2014 Jeep Wrangler coming from the opposite direction.
The blood taken from Eaton, after the accident, had been taken at the hospital and incidentally had no chain of custody, meaning the integrity of the blood test was invalid. Therefore, the blood was inadmissible as evidence, even though the result showed approximately a .128 BAC. Had the blood results been able to be admitted, Eaton would have been facing a sentence of three to 10 years of incarceration.
The wife of the deceased stated in a letter to the court, “I know in my heart that God is going to take care of this, even if the courts aren’t.”
Since Eaton was pleading to negligent homicide, a misdemeanor, there was a chance he could be released early for good behavior. Early release can be applied to misdemeanor charges of over six months. After release, Deaton would be out of the courts’ hands. Therefore, Judge Hummel sentenced Eaton to one day short of discharge, followed by two years of probation, so the courts could keep a closer watch on Eaton.
Eaton had been previously charged with a DUI 18 years ago, as well as formerly losing a job for drinking. When asked by the judge, Eaton admitted that he had been drinking whiskey during his truck route and proceeded to drive the approximate 20 ton vehicle.
When Eaton was given a chance to address the court, he stated, “I want to apologize to the court and the family. I pray for them every night… If I could change things I would; I would change places with the victim… I wanted to… I need help.”
In other court matters, 29-year-old Matthew Stoflisky appeared before Judge Hummel on his second violation of probation by way of failing a drug test. He was ordered to serve an additional 120 days on his sentence.
In 2015, Stoflinsky was remanded to serve an underlying 2-10 year prison sentence after failing to complete the drug court program. He had originally pleaded guilty to offenses relative to operating a clandestine meth lab.
Also, 57-year-old Willard Loy, of New Martinsville, pleaded guilty to the lesser sentence of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine.
Loy admitted, “I sold a half a gram of meth,” to an undercover informant. Loy decided to take the plea, as opposed to going to trial, due to the fact that if a jury would find him guilty, then he would be facing life in prison. Instead Loy pleaded to the lesser count and was sentenced to serve one to five years. Loy explained that he had dated a girl who had gotten him hooked on heroin and that he had transitioned into methamphetamine. “That’s all this town is, meth and heroin,” quoted Loy. Loy also stated that over the years of injecting drugs, he has developed a heart palpitation and admitted that he had spent around $30,000 in one year on drugs and lost his home.
In another matter, 20-year-old Andrew James Estep addressed Judge Hummel on probation-related request. Estep had previously been arrested for simple possession. Estep requested to go to an out-of-state facility for drug rehab, in the state of Florida. Prosecutor Timothy Haught still wants Estep to be under some sort of supervision by the Wetzel County court system, so the drug rehab facility is to inform Prosecutor Haught upon Estep’s completion. Estep is to be released from prison on Jan. 2 and will have 48 hours to leave the state. Estep admitted that he has been injecting methamphetamine for a couple of years now. Judge Hummel informed Estep that if he didn’t change his ways, he would not make it to 22 -years-old.
Micheal Briggs appeared before the judge to request a felony reduction. Briggs had previously pleaded guilty to distribution of methamphetamine in 2014. Briggs served six months in jail and then had successfully completed the drugcourt course. Following the course, Briggs successfully completed two years of probation and therefore, per the terms of his original plea agreement, was allowed request a sentence reduction from a felony to a misdemeanor. Briggs attended several AA meetings and continued to go on his own authority. He also spoke with many classes as to the harmful effects of drug use.
“Micheal has been stellar… He has made an excellent example of what drug court has the power to do” stated Judge Hummel.
Prosecuting Attorney Tim Haught added, “I would like to congratulate Mr. Briggs on his success. I am very happy that you’re not on drugs and are getting your life back together.” Briggs had all of his charges expunged as a result of such outstanding work and behavior.”
Briggs finished with, “I am very grateful for everything that you have done for me.”