MADISON — A Madison woman’s request for home confinement was denied last week by 25th Judicial District Circuit Judge William Thompson at a hearing in the Boone County Courthouse in Madison.
Devine Jackson, 22, is in jail after accepting a 12-month prison sentence as part of a plea deal for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol and causing serious bodily injury to her male passenger. Jackson was arrested for DUI a second time, driving while license revoked for DUI and joy riding just a few months later.
Jackson was taken back to jail following the hearing at which the judge said he was amazed at the lack of remorse.
“One thing that stands out to me is that when I gave you the chance to make a statement you never said, ‘I’m sorry.’ It’s pretty amazing…and show lack of remorse.” Thompson said to Jackson after denying her motion for home confinement. “I am still shocked that the word ‘sorry’ never passed through your lips.”
When Jackson did make her statement she said, “All I can say is I make some bad decisions. If I could take it back I would. Everybody makes mistakes. I ask the court to have mercy on me.”
In the DUI causing serious bodily injury accident, Jackson was driving along W.Va. 17 near Madison when she lost control and ran off the roadway. Her vehicle then struck a power pole over an embankment, police said.
Her passenger, Derek Sutphin, 31, was transported to CAMC General Hospital, where he was in critical condition.
Family members have told the Coal Valley News that Derek Sutphin is still struggling to recover from the accident. He was not wearing a seatbelt and became pinned under the car’s dashboard after the crash.
Sutphin’s mother, Crystal Sutphin, was allowed to speak on her son’s behalf during the hearing.
“My son is still on a ventilator,” a tearful Crystal Sutphin said to the judge. “Devine Jackson has never once shown any sympathy, remorse or even said I’m sorry. My son Derek requested that she stay in jail.”
Crystal Sutphin showed pictures of her son Derek from the time he was born until the day of the crash that has left him still fighting for his life in a hospital.
“My family has lost everything,” Crystal Sutphin explained to the court. “He was not expected to survive, but he has fought to hold on. But my son will suffer for the rest of his life. He has received a life sentence. Is it too much to ask this court make her serve the 12 month sentence she agreed to serve?”
Jackson showed little emotion during the hearing.
“She [Devine Jackson] hasn’t learned any responsibility or anything from any of this,” Crystal Sutphin said after the hearing. “I am glad the judge and everyone else saw this and her request was denied. I am glad she was sent back to jail, where she can’t hurt anyone else.”
Jackson, however, will be eligible for parole in August, and would be released after the 12 months are served even if she is denied parole.
“I don’t understand why West Virginia is so lenient on DUI crimes?” Crystal Sutphin said.
Margie Sadler, a victim advocate with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), was at the hearing to support Sutphin’s family and friends.
“This is another tragic story that I hear over and over again,” Sadler said. “We are working hard to get the West Virginia Legislature to pass new laws that create stiffer fines and jail time for DUI crimes.”
Sadler says MADD offers services and education for victims of DUI crimes. For more information, contact her toll-free at 1-888-757-7090.