Targeting rival, woman crashes SUV
Bonita S. Pegler pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs
WEST CHESTER >> Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned — especially one who is also drunk and behind the wheel of a GMC Yukon SUV.
On Monday, Bonita S. Pegler pleaded guilty to a single count of driving under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs, her arrest stemming from an incident that occurred at the West Whiteland home of a woman Pegler believed was having an affair with Pegler’s husband.
According to Pegler’s attorney, Francis C. Miller of West Chester, the 54-year-old West Whiteland woman hopes to win entry into the county’s Intermediate Punishment (IP) Program and reduce the sentence she faces for the DUI, her first, to 72 hours in Chester County Prison.
Assistant District Attorney Andrea Cardamone, the prosecutor in the case, told Common Pleas Judge Phyllis Streitel that she will oppose the IP approval, and request a sentence of 30 days to six months because of the nature of the case. Her application for acceptance into the alternative sentencing program, Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD), has already been denied by the DA’s Office.
Streitel said she would sentence Pegler at a date in the future once her IP application is complete.
The judge appeared concerned about the circumstances surrounding Pegler’s arrest enough that she restricted her driving habits to only essential transportation, such as caring for her elderly mother and going to doctor’s appointments. Pegler says she suffers from a spinal condition.
According to Cardamone, on Feb. 13, Pegler drove her SUV from her home on Copeland Road to a house in the 200 block of Boot Road where the woman she thought her husband was cheating on her with lived. The woman was not identified in court documents.
When Pegler arrived at the house around 1:30 a.m., she knocked on the door to try to gain entry to the house and confront the pair. No one answered the door, however, even though the woman was home.
Angered, Pegler got back in her SUV and began ramming it into the Jeep the woman owned, which was parked in front of the house. She pushed it into an outdoor shed, then drove her vehicle across the homeowner’s patio and lawn, eventually crashing through a neighbor’s fence, Cardamone told the judge.
“Is that what you did?” Streitel asked Pegler. “Yes,” she answered after a long pause.
The woman called police, identifying Pegler as the culprit, and officers responded to the scene. As West Whiteland Officer Marc Meshurle Jr. wrote in a criminal complaint, he drove towards Pegler’s home on Copeland Road and saw a car coming at him in the opposite lane. The SUV lost control on a curve and struck a utility pole, breaking it into three pieces and causing the electrical transformer to spark.
Pegler’s SUV rolled on its side. When Meshurle approached the car, he could see Pegler inside, injured but moving. When she was pulled from the wreckage, the officer said he could smell alcohol on her breath. No one else was hurt in the crash.
At Paoli Hospital, where she was taken by ambulance, Meshurle found baggies filled with white powder and pills in her clothing. The pills were later determined to be oxymorphine.
Cardamone said that a test of Pegler’s blood revealed that she had a blood alcohol count of .18, twice the leal limit of .08. She also had opiates in her system.
Miller and Cardamone told Streitel said that the damages to the woman’s car and property were reimbursed, and that she was not charged with any offenses involving them. She still owes restitution for the damage to the utility police.
Streitel cautioned Pegler not to commit any other offenses between now and the time she is sentenced, or that would be factored into her ultimate sentence.