Wyoming man with 14 DUI, alcohol-related offenses gets one final chance at sobriety

By: 
Marlo Pronovost
Thursday, September 27, 2018

A Wyoming man with a criminal history that a judge called “troubling” is getting one last chance to stay sober and law-abiding.

Guy Michael DeGroff, of Buffalo, Wyo., will spend the next five years on probation, pay a $1,000 fine and be required to abide by 37 court-imposed conditions for one felony count of criminal endangerment. He was initially charged with felony DUI.

Any more legal trouble will most likely end DeGroff’s freedom.

“Any further violations, and I would think that prison is in the offing,” said District Court Judge Blair Jones last week during the sentencing hearing.

Jones appeared to be hesitant to go with the joint plea agreement sentence recommendation to give DeGroff a suspended sentence, saying his “criminal history is kind of troubling” and includes aggravated assault, family violence and obstruction.

Montana Department of Corrections Probation/Parole Officer Shellie Stickman echoed Jones’ thoughts, noting DeGroff’s criminal history and the fact that he currently has an outstanding warrant for partner/family member assault in Wyoming.

“There are concerns,” said Stichman.

According to court documents, DeGroff has been previously convicted of DUI or a similar offense a total of 14 times from 1989 to 2011 in Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

DeGroff addressed the court and acknowledged he has had stretches of sobriety. He has recently completed a treatment program, which has shown him he is also codependent and he has taken “a lot of wrong paths” during his life. He also said he has ended old relationships that were not good for him, attends Alcoholics Anonymous and wants to lead a normal life.

Jones said the sentence holds DeGroff accountable for his behavior, provides him rehabilitative options and provides a measure o community safety through his supervision.

THE CASE

According to court documents, in July of 2018, Still-water County Sheriff’s Dispatch received several calls of an eastbound pickup truck with a Wyoming license plate on I-90 that was speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, deliberately cutting off vehicles that tried to pass him and making obscene gestures.

Sheriff’s Deputy Jared Delaney located the truck and attempted to make a traffic stop, but DeGroff instead pulled into the rear parking lot of the Park City Zip Trip and got out of his vehicle.

Delaney smelled alcohol coming from DeGroff, and noted he had unsteady balance, slurred speech and watery eyes, according to court documents. DeGroff admitted to having consumed one beer earlier that morning. He also admitted to “signaling other drivers with obscene gestures,” but said other drivers were “cutting off his travel,” according to court documents.

Field sobriety tests showed DeGroff was intoxicated and he was taken to the Stillwater Billings Clinic for a blood draw, after the deputy obtained the appropriate warrant.

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