Tar­get­ing ri­val, woman crashes SUV

Bonita S. Pe­gler pleaded guilty to driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol and pre­scrip­tion drugs

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Michael P. Rel­la­han mrel­la­han@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Ch­escoCourtNews on Twit­ter

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.

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