LEWISBURG (WVDN) – A man who entered a guilty plea to felony impaired driving has been sentenced to drug court.
Lynn Houston LaGrange was indicted during the February 2021 term of the Greenbrier County Circuit Court. The charge included one count of felony driving while in an impaired state, third or subsequent offense. He entered a guilty plea as part of a plea deal on Wednesday, Mar. 16.
Greenbrier County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Dent explained the deal struck between the Greenbrier County Prosecutor’s office and the defense.
“Upon acceptance of this plea, the parties are jointly requesting that any adjudication of your guilt be withheld, and that you be allowed to participate in the diversion agreement,” Dent said. “However, if you were unsuccessfully discharged from [the Southeastern Regional Drug Court Program], then you would be adjudicated a felon at that time.”
If LaGrange fails the program, he would then be found guilty of the felony to which he plead.
“It tells me that you’re going to enter a plea of guilty to driving while in an impaired state, third or subsequent offense, which is a felony. … The maximum potential penalty [is that] you could be incarcerated in the penitentiary of this state for an indeterminate period of not less than two years, no more than five years, or … you could be fined not less than $3,000, not more than $5,000.”
Assistant prosecutor Ryan Blake explained to the court what the state would expect to prove if the case were to go to trial.
“In the early morning hours, approximately 34 minutes after midnight, on March 17, 2020, [a sheriff’s deputy was on patrol in Greenbrier County,” Blake said. “[They were] traveling on route 60 when [they] noticed a [blue] Chevrolet truck parked on the roadside in Crawley. At that point, [the deputy] made contact with the vehicle and the driver. It appeared that the drivers, who was later identified as Lynn Houston LaGrange, had the motor running and the lights were on. [He] was leaning out of the driver’s side door. [The deputy observed] a strong odor of alcohol. Mr. LaGrange had slurred speech and trouble communicating in answering certain questions of the deputy.”
The deputy had LaGrange step out of the vehicle.
“Mr. LaGrange specifically refused to perform both the one leg stand, as well as the walk and turn test,” Blake continued. “At that point, he was administered a preliminary breath test and it did result in a failure. Mr. LaGrange was placed into custody and taken to the Lewisburg Detachment of the Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Department.”
Blake also explained that LaGrange was previously convicted on Dec. 30, 2017, for impaired driving in Louisiana, and again on April 10, 2019, in Greenbrier County Magistrate Court for the offense of impaired driving.
LaGrange answered “yes” when asked if this description was essentially correct. Defense attorney Martha Fleshman said the plea was in his best interest, allowing for the diversion program.
Dent deferred the guilty finding, and instructed LaGrange to begin the Southeastern Regional Drug Court Program that day.