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Sentencing delayed in fatal DUI Crash

November 18, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A judge revoked the bail on Monday of a man who pleaded no contest to driving drunk in a 2002 accident in which his SUV crashed head-on into another car, killing a passenger.

Daniel Scott Pearrell, 28, of Berkeley Station Road in Martinsburg, had been free on bond. He was expected to be picked up by West Virginia State Police Monday night and taken to Eastern Regional Jail, according to Berkeley County Assistant Prosecutor Betsy Giggenbach.

Pearrell on Sept. 4 pleaded no contest to one felony count of DUI causing death in connection with a collision in which Juan Francisco Tejeda, 20, was killed. A no contest plea means a defendant is not admitting guilt, but is stating he will offer no defense.

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Pearrell, driving a 1971 Chevrolet Blazer, hit a 1990 Geo Storm at around 9:15 p.m. as he headed south on U.S. 11 North, police said. The wreck happened on March 30, 2002. Tejeda was a passenger in the Geo.

The driver of the Geo, Ermain Espinoza Rivera, age unknown, was injured.

Pearrell was scheduled to be sentenced Monday, but the hearing was postponed to allow probation workers to finish their pre-sentence investigation. Part of that report includes statements from Tejeda's family members.

Because his bond was revoked, Pearrell will now be held without bail until his new sentencing date, scheduled for next Monday.

Giggenbach, who prosecuted the case against Pearrell, alleged that State Trooper J.D. Bird found Pearrell to be drunk Friday night. She did not have additional details and Bird could not be reached.

One of the conditions of Pearrell's bond was that he not drink alcohol.

After Pearrell entered his plea more than two months ago, sentencing was delayed because probation workers had not been able to find any of Tejeda's family. Some have since come forward, Giggenbach said.

As part of Pearrell's plea bargain, three additional charges, including one count of DUI causing injury, were dismissed.

Pearrell, who was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the wreck, was thrown from the Blazer. He was taken to Washington County Hospital, where blood was drawn. Authorities later said that Pearrell's blood-alcohol content was .226, more than twice the legal limit of .10.

Judge David Sanders, who issued the capias warrant, will listen to Tejeda's family members before sentencing Pearrell, who faces one to 10 years in prison.

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