Judge delivers warning with sentence

Randolph County Circuit Court Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong painted a grim picture for an aspiring art teacher who will spend the next 18 months behind bars for drunk driving and driving while having a license revoked for driving under the influence.

“You’re going to kill somebody unless you change,” Wilfong told 23-year-old Dylan Basil of Elkins Monday during a sentencing hearing on the misdemeanor charges. “You are a threat behind the wheel, and you appear to have no respect for the law and those on the road. You can’t be trusted with a license, and you drive any way.”

Defense attorney James Hawkins sought to have Basil placed on some type of alternative sentence, noting that Basil is attending Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa, on a soccer scholarship. Hawkins said he feared any sort of disruption in Basil’s education would derail any hope for his future.

“He could lose his scholarship, and he will dig a hole much deeper than what he has already done,” Hawkins said. “The man clearly recognizes the path this activity is leading and the potential destruction it could lead to.”

Though it was Basil’s third DUI arrest, he pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of DUI-second offense. Wilfong, however, said Basil has a significant criminal history for someone of his age, filled with alcohol-related offenses.

Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Parker said he was concerned about Basil’s attitude toward the matter.

“Incarceration would serve him well to make him realize the seriousness of this offense,” Parker said.

Basil was also ordered to pay $1,500 in fines on the two charges.

In another matter, Wilfong refused to reconsider the sentencing of a man who attempted to elude authorities after being sentenced in February.

Derrick Armstrong, 33, of Mill Creek, had been sentenced to one year on each of two domestic battery charges. He had originally been charged with four felonies, but was allowed to enter pleas on lesser charges.

After the hearing, however, he told jailers he needed to use the restroom and then fled the scene. Police officers caught him later that evening near the Davis and Elkins College campus.

Special prosecutor Jacob Reger of Upshur County opposed the reconsideration of Armstrong’s sentence, arguing that Armstrong was under the influence of cocaine at his February sentencing.

“This is a guy who beat his child for being afraid of a thunderstorm,” Wilfong said. “My probation officers have better things to do than chase people down.”