Multiple DUI Offender Receives Lengthy Prison Sentence

By: Tim Irr - Email
By: Tim Irr - Email

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A man with 13 DUI arrests was sentenced Monday to five to 16 years in prison.

John Caldwell, 49, of Huntington, hasn’t had a driver’s license since the 1980s. Cabell County Circuit Court Judge Alfred Ferguson told Caldwell he was frustrated by the repeat DUI pattern – an offense that results nationally in one in every three highway deaths.

"John, I've given this little speech before, and one more time isn't going to hurt," Ferguson said. "It's not against the law in West Virginia to be an alcoholic. If you want to sit in your house and drink, make your family miserable, (get) cirrhosis of the liver, die at a young age -- none of that is against the law, really. The thing is that's against the law is when you walk out and get in that vehicle you become like a cocked pistol then. You're a danger to society then."

Caldwell entered a guilty plea on all charges. Last spring, he had twice the legal blood-alcohol limit when he tried to speed away from police in Lawrence County, Ohio, and across the Ohio River into Huntington. He claims he's fine when he stays with his parents in Kenova, W.Va., and hopes to get that chance again someday.

“I’m changing everything in my life,” Caldwell told the court.

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