Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

March 18, 2014

Perdue gets 2 to 10 years in DUI death

PRINCETON — A Mercer County man was remanded to custody Monday after being sentenced to a term of two to 10 years in prison for causing the 2012 DUI death of a Brushfork woman.

Eric Perdue, 32, of Brushfork, appeared for sentencing before Circuit Court Judge Omar Aboulhosn. Perdue pleaded guilty on Jan.13 to a felony count of DUI with death. Several misdemeanor charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

The case started in August 2012 after a two-vehicle crash on Falls Mills Road, also known as Route 123, near Brushfork. Sherri Watkins, 41, of Brushfork, was driving a Chevrolet Cobalt west on Route 123 when a Chevy Silverado pickup truck traveling east turned on its side and ran head-on into the Cobalt. Watkins died at the scene, Deputy M.S. Horne of the Mercer Sheriff’s Department said after the crash.

Patricia Watkins, Sherri Watkins’s mother, addressed the court and spoke about how the tragedy has impacted her family.

“He took my daughter’s life, and he took my life, too. It’s awful,” she said. “She was going the speed limit, but he was flying, drunk. He broke her neck, he broke her legs, and everything inside her was broken. I ask God to take my life so I can be with her. Don’t let him off, please.”

The Reverend West Lambert, pastor of Perdue’s church, said he believed Perdue understood “the severity of his poor choices.”

“I think he lives every day with remorse,” Lambert said. “I have spoken with Eric. The only good that can come from this is to completely surrender himself to the Lord.”

Perdue also addressed the court and expressed regret for his actions.

“I’m truly sorry,” he stated. “It’s devastated me, and I am truly sorry for that family.”

What is tragic about the death of Sherri Watkins is that fact that the crash did not have to happen, Aboulhosn said. The judge added that he was certain that the fatal crash was not the first instance when Perdue had been driving under the influence. The Centers for Disease Control recently estimated that the typical DUI driver has been DUI approximately 80 times before being arrested for the first time.

Perdue was sentenced to a term of two to 10 years in prison and a $3,000 fine. He was immediately remanded to the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver.

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