Woman pleads no contest to misdemeanor count of DUI causing death

Magistrate JoAnn Overington said she was "not happy" with the plea and indicated she might not accept it

January 25, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A woman charged in the May 2010 death of another woman in a vehicle crash pleaded no contest Tuesday in Berkeley County Magistrate Court to a misdemeanor count of driving under the influence causing death.

Jennifer Lee Shibley of 2570 Whitings Neck Road in Martinsburg, could be placed on home confinement for six months and one day if the plea is accepted by presiding Magistrate JoAnn Overington.

A hearing was scheduled for March 14 by Overington, who said she was "not happy" with the plea and indicated she might not accept it.

"Frankly, I think you should go to jail," Overington told Shibley.

Angel E. Clark, 36, died at City Hospital in Martinsburg on May 21 after the car she and Shibley were riding in collided with a sport utility vehicle on W.Va. 9 near the Hedgesville post office, according to court records.

Berkeley County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Richard Stephens told Overington that authorities later determined that Clark also was under the influence when the crash happened.

At the accident scene, Shibley allegedly told Berkeley County Sheriff's Deputy Ralph Pierce that she had smoked marijuana and drank two or three beers, according to court records. The accident occurred when the green Toyota Corolla that Shibley was driving crossed the center line of the road and struck a Ford SUV, according to court records.

The results of a preliminary breath test indicated Shibley had a blood-alcohol concentration of .030, according to court records. The legal limit is .08.

Overington said she would wait to hear from the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department about whether Shibley is able to qualify for home confinement before deciding whether to agree to the plea.

Overington also indicated she would order Shibley to pay a $1,000 fine if the case does not go to trial.

Stephens said he believed Shibley would qualify for confinement and also noted that the defendant completed an alcohol/drug program at Edgehill recovery treatment center in Winchester, Va. and had stayed "clean" in drug and alcohol testing supervised by Berkeley/Jefferson Day Report Center since the crash.

When Overington asked how the victim's family felt about the plea, Stephens said that Clark's mother was contacted by Victim's Advocate Heather Deeds. Clark's father is deceased, Stephens said. No family members attended Tuesday's hearing.

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