GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Three years ago, Jay Ferguson got into an argument at a crawfish boil and decided to leave the party drunk. That decision to drive while under the influence led to one man's death, and now a prison sentence.
Ferguson, 34, pleaded guilty Monday to Driving Under the Influence Causing Death. Judge Lisa Dodson sentenced Ferguson, a first time offender, to 25 years, and suspended 12 years, leaving 13 years to serve in prison.
Prosecutors said on May 7, 2011, Ferguson drove his truck into the opposite lane of traffic and collided head on with another pickup being driven by David Osborne, 52. Osborne died as a result of his injuries from that accident on Standard Dedeaux Road.
"The defendant had a blood alcohol concentration of .21 percent and was found passed out in the vehicle at the time of the crash. Officers also found empty beer cans and cases scattered around the vehicles at the crash location," said ADA Chris Daniel, who prosecuted the case.
During his guilty plea hearing, Ferguson said, "I have not had a drink of alcohol since the day of the accident. My heart goes out to this family with my deepest apologies. I am truly sorry. I knew better."
"Driving under the influence is an entirely preventable crime. It was entirely voluntarily on your part," Judge Dodson said just before sentencing. "You have injured both families. You made that decision." Once Ferguson gets out of prison, he'll have to complete five years of post-release supervision. The judge also ordered Ferguson to repay burial costs associated with the death of the victim.