Parkersburg man sentenced in DUI death case

PARKERSBURG — A sentence of three to 10 years was meted out in Wood County Circuit Court Friday for a Wood County man who pleaded guilty to DUI causing death.

Duane Eric Hamrick, 45, 2429 Blennerhassett Heights, Parkersburg, was sentenced after his February guilty plea to the charge from the September 2016 grand jury.

Judge Robert Waters sentenced Hamrick to three to 10 years in prison. A motion for alternative sentencing was denied and he was remanded to custody at the North Central Regional Jail. His sentence will have a recommendation for placement in a facility where he can receive intense substance abuse treatment.

According to police reports, Hamrick and Matthew Stanley, 42, of Mineral Wells were in Hamrick’s truck on the night of Feb. 12, 2016. Hamrick made a wrong turn from 19th Street, steering the truck into the Parkersburg Memorial Gardens Cemetery below Parkersburg High School, police said. The truck became stuck after crashing into tombstones, police said.

According to police reports, the truck caught fire and Hamrick was able to escape. He was located by uniformed officers who reported there was a strong odor of alcohol coming from him, he was unsteady on his feet and had glassy eyes and slurred speech. Hamrick refused field sobriety tests and was taken to Camden Clark Medical Center.

Hamrick told detectives he was heavily intoxicated when the truck got stuck. He said he remembered putting the truck in four-wheel drive and having his foot on the accelerator before passing out. When he awoke, the inside of the truck was filled with smoke and he could see fire in the front of the truck, police said.

Police said Stanley’s body was found in the passenger seat of the truck and was positively identified in an autopsy on Feb. 16, 2016. According to the autopsy report, Stanley died from smoke inhalation.

As part of the plea agreement, the count in the indictment for destruction of property was dismissed.

In other hearings:

* James V. Gorrell, 38, Friendly, was sentenced after successfully completing the second circuit court drug program. He pleaded guilty to the charge of false pretenses and was sentenced by Waters to nine months with credit for 15 days served, suspended for two years probation.

* Aaron D. Mullins, 37, in custody at the North Central Regional Jail, was sentenced on a motion to revoke his home confinement. Waters sentenced him to 12 months home confinement with credit for 513 days served.

* Kenneth Michael Bailey, 34, in custody at the North Central Regional Jail, entered a plea agreement to plead guilty to a charge of uttering as charged by the January 2017 grand jury. He was granted a motion to go to sentencing and was sentenced to time served by Judge J.D. Beane.