Editor's Note: Due to a reporter's audio tape issues from Wednesday's court hearing The Inter-Mountain is republishing this story in its entirety to clarify Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong's comments.
ELKINS - A 19-year-old Dailey man who was behind the wheel in a fatal wreck in June entered a guilty plea in Randolph County Circuit Court Wednesday.
Cole Alexander Edmond, 20, pleaded guilty to one felony count of driving under the influence causing death. Edmond is facing two to 10 years in a state penitentiary.
Edmond was charged for his role in the death of Timothy Roger "Bo" Hornick, 15, of Mill Creek. Edmond was the driver of the Chevrolet Cavalier involved in the June 20 two-vehicle accident that resulted in Hornick's death. The wreck happened at about 2:30 p.m. as the Cavalier was traveling south on Route 219 near Tygarts Valley High School.
The criminal complaint in the Randolph County Magistrate Clerk's office stated Edmond had allegedly been drinking vodka prior to the wreck. He spoke about the incident before Randolph County Circuit Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong at Wednesday's hearing.
"I consumed some alcohol. I was in Mill Creek heading toward Huttonsville," Edmond said.
"And what time did you start drinking?" Wilfong asked.
"I'd say about 30 minutes beforehand," Edmond replied.
"About 30 minutes before the wreck happened?" Wilfong inquired.
"Yes," Edmond answered.
Edmond said there were two passengers in the car with him, who he identified as Hornick and Eric Davis. He said he was impaired when he was driving, noting a breathalyzer test conducted on-scene measured his blood alcohol content at .084.
"And you are aware that the legal limit is .08, correct?" Wilfong asked.
"Yes." Edmond said.
Wilfong pointed out that Edmond was not of age to consume alcohol at the time of the accident.
"So you were driving to Huttonsville. Were you driving fast?" Wilfong asked.
"I was driving five over the speed limit," Edmond said.
"So what made you wreck?" Wilfong inquired.
"I went off of the berm on the road and lost control," Edmond replied.
"And then what happened?" Wilfong pressed.
"A truck hit us," Edmond said.
"And the wreck was your fault?" Wilfong asked.
"Yes," Edmond admitted.
Edmond said he and Davis sustained minor injuries as a result of the accident. Hornick, however, was in the passenger seat and succumbed to his injuries on the scene, Edmond said.
"How has this affected you, Mr. Edmond?" Wilfong asked.
"Not in a very good way," Edmond responded. "It upsets me a lot."
"The two of you were close?" Wilfong inquired.
"Yes," Edmond said, appearing to be overcome with emotion.
Members of Hornick's family were in attendance at Wednesday's hearing, but did not speak on record during the proceedings.
Edmond told the court he was taken to jail after the wreck, and was kept there for two and a half weeks.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Richard Shryock said that a toxicology screening, in addition to alcohol, showed Edmond tested positive for marijuana, though the state did not have any evidence to indicate that Edmond was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the accident.
"The state contends that due to Edmond drinking alcohol while driving and traveling at a high rate of speed, the facts show that Edmond showed wreckless disregard which resulted in the accident," Shryock added.
Edmond told the court he believed his actions were in wreckless disregard for the safety of those on the road.
"Mr. Edmond, you're now 20 years old. You were 19 then," Wilfong said. "Thinking back to when I was 19 and I'm a very different person now then when I was 19. Things when I was 19 may not have seemed as serious as they seem now. But I can tell you that there are a whole lot of people who are your age or younger that might think that - that might do similar things that you did. OK? And yours had, very sadly, a tragic ending. And the only positive that I can think of that could come out of this is if you had anything that you could say as far as what you would do differently, and how this has impacted your life, so that maybe someone who's out there who's 18 or 19 or 17 or 16 might think twice before they have a couple swigs of vodka and go flying down the road with their best friends in it. What would you say to someone like that?"
"It's not worth it," Edmond said. "It's really not."
Edmond's sentencing is set for May 2.
Contact Chad Clem by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.