An Idaho man arrested for felony drug possession was sentenced Tuesday to undergo treatment for his addiction, with the possibility of prison time.
Nicholas Erwin, 41, was driving in Teton County in September when his passenger, Deborah Huffman, stopped breathing, reports stated. Police said Erwin pulled over near the Swinging Bridge and started CPR while witnesses called 911.
Huffman, 31, of Rochester, New York, died of a methamphetamine overdose, Teton County coroner Dr. Brent Blue said. Blue ruled her death accidental, but Erwin was arrested at the scene for felony possession of meth.
In Teton County District Court this week, Erwin didn’t deny his addiction.
“I was just shy of a year in with sobriety but COVID hit and it was free rein for lack of a better term,” Erwin told Judge Timothy Day.
Day sentenced Erwin to supervised probation and treatment court with a suspended prison sentence. Saying prison isn’t helpful for addicts trying to achieve sobriety, Day called the suspended sentence a reminder that if Erwin doesn’t do well on probation, he could end up there.
“This dramatically highlights the lethal effects of addiction,” Day said in court. “He was with a friend who died of an overdose when he was arrested. These are life and death consequences that come as a result of addiction.”
Erwin said he has had success in the past with sobriety, even staying sober for nine years at one point, but said he needs the supervision of a probation officer until it becomes a lifestyle.
“My family needs me,” Erwin said. “My daughter and wife need me.”
Day encouraged Erwin to lead a life free of crime and drugs, for himself and for his family.
“I know you have a young daughter and the way your son talks about you there has to be a really good person inside you, and you can’t be that person unless you’re sober,” Day said. “You owe it to your little girl to be the best person you can be. You have to embrace your recovery and do everything you possibly can to make sure this is the last time you’re in front of any court.”