WILLIE DEAN CUMMINGS, d/o/b 8-27-1953, of Bradleyville, was sentenced on Thursday, November 5, 2015, to fifteen (15) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections for the class B felony of driving while intoxicated. Cummings had been found guilty of D.W.I. by Taney County Circuit Court Judge Laura Johnson, following a bench trial held on July 29, 2015. Chief Assistant Prosecutor Tiffany Yarnell tried the case for the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office.
On September 22, 2011, Cummings was in a one-vehicle crash near Taneyville, where passers-by noticed a burning pickup truck and stopped to assist Cummings. Cummings smelled of intoxicants and was cited for driving while intoxicated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Multiple witnesses testified about the condition Cummings was found in after the crash, resulting in the guilty verdict.
Driving while intoxicated, as a first offense, is normally a class B misdemeanor, and handled by the Associate Circuit Courts. However, because Cummings had four or more intoxication-related traffic offenses on his record, he was charged with a class B felony for being a “chronic” D.W.I. offender. The range of punishment for a class B felony is not less than five (5) years in prison and not more than fifteen (15) years in prison. However, Cummings was charged as a prior and persistent felony offender, enhancing his possible maximum prison sentence to thirty (30) years.