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Man pleads guilty to DUI in fatal crash

March 30, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A Berkeley County, W.Va., man entered a guilty plea Monday to a charge of DUI causing death in connection with a 2007 motorcycle crash that claimed the life of an 18-year-old man.

William Wayne "Billy" DeHaven Jr. is scheduled to be sentenced May 26 by 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Christopher C. Wilkes on the felony charge.

DeHaven, now 27, is expected to receive a sentence of one to 10 years and be ordered to pay restitution and court costs, Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Jean Games-Neely said. The sentence is the maximum allowed by state code, Games-Neely said.

DeHaven, of Gerrardstown, W.Va., has been incarcerated at Eastern Regional Jail since October, when his bond was revoked for an unrelated charge, according to court records.

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In addition to the felony charge, DeHaven was indicted in October on misdemeanor counts of DUI resulting in injury and driving while revoked for DUI.

The misdemeanor counts had to be dismissed because the one-year statute of limitations for prosecuting the charges had passed by the time the case was bound over from magistrate court in September, Games-Neely said.

DeHaven was drinking heavily before a head-on collision with another motorcycle operated by Steven R. Warner on April 24, 2007, along Trinity Church Road, police have said.

Warner died from his injuries en route to the hospital, police said.

DeHaven told Wilkes Monday that he was "just out riding that day and had an accident" before adding that he was drinking and driving when the accident happened.

DeHaven's cousin, Timothy W. Price Jr., was riding with Warner, and Games-Neely said after the hearing Monday that Price "didn't care" about the charge of DUI causing injury being dismissed. Police said Price was seriously injured when the 1973 Honda being operated by DeHaven traveled left of center and struck the other motorcycle.

Records obtained by the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department from Winchester (Va.) Medical Center after the accident show DeHaven's blood-alcohol level was .131, which is higher than the state limit of .08, police said.

The hospital's urine drug-screen record also indicated DeHaven had cannabinoids -- derivatives of marijuana -- in his body, police said.

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