Plea entered in Parsons DUI hearing

PARSONS – A Parsons resident pleaded guilty to first offense DUI in Tucker County Circuit Court Thursday, five days before she was set to go to trial on a third offense DUI indictment.

Kandice Sponaugle, 24, of 401 Main St., Parsons, appeared with attorney Pat Nichols before Tucker County Circuit Judge Lynn A. Nelson to enter into the plea agreement.

Tucker County Prosecuting Attorney Ray LaMora III said the state would rely on evidence including testimony from West Virginia State Police Cpl. D.W. Burge and Trooper Jacob Kopec, based on what they saw and statements they received on the night of the incident.

“We also have testimony from the other witness that tells who was driving at the time of the accident,” LaMora said.

Nelson asked Sponaugle how she plead, to which she responded, “guilty.” LaMora said the state would recommend a sentence of six months of home confinement monitored by the Tucker County Sheriff’s Department.

“We feel that this is a pretty significant incident,” LaMora said. “Miss Sponaugle does have a history with the court system. This would insure that, at least for the next six months, we won’t have any issues with her.”

Nichols said Sponaugle spent a day in jail after the


“She has a nursing degree,” Nichols said. “The risk was significant. The facts of the case are that the car backed over a hill, 50 or 60 yards. We would ask the court that if she does need probation, that it be unsupervised probation. She has been off from her work as a nurse until she gets this resolved. Hopefully, she can get back to work. I think she has suffered significantly. I would ask the court to put her on unsupervised probation or levy a fine.”

Nelson ruled that Sponaugle must pay a $100 fine and spend 90 days on house arrest.

As Judge Nelson was questioning Sponaugle about her plea Thursday, Tucker County Sheriff Brian Wilfong walked across the courtroom and handed Nelson a folded piece of paper. Nelson read the note and asked a male spectator, who had entered the courtroom with Sponaugle, if he was recording the hearing.

Nichols also asked the man if he was recording the proceedings.

The man, only identified as Keith, told Nelson he was “only holding this phone up.”

“It’s not recording, is it?” Nichols said. “Turn it off if it is.”

Nelson explained “the law only allows us have one transcript, and that is for the court to record.”

According to the police report, Sponaugle was arrested after she and Katie Phillips allegedly drove from Kopec’s home, across the road and into an embankment on Nov. 4 in Parsons.

Burge testified in April that Kopec told him Phillips and Sponaugle had stopped by his house and woke him up.

“He said he told them to leave because he was asleep,” Burge said on the witness stand in April. “He said a few minutes after they left, he heard a loud thump and saw headlights shining into the trees. The girls returned to his house.”

“He advised that Kandice Sponaugle had told him she had backed out of his driveway and into the field,” Burge said. “She asked him to take his truck and a pull chain to get them out. He advised me that he then smelled the odor of alcohol on their breath and told them he would not pull them out. He said he went in and called dispatch.”

Burge said when he got to Kopec’s residence, both women appeared to be very intoxicated.

“(Phillips) told me she drove to Rowlesburg and they were drinking,” Burge said. “She said she drove to Trooper Kopec’s house and she advised that somewhere between first and second Holly Meadows (Road) that she and Sponaugle had a conversation about wanting to stop at Trooper Kopec’s house and have a threesome.”

Burge said Phillips told him both women were intoxicated and both agreed it was a good idea, so they pulled into Kopec’s driveway. Burge said Phillips told him they went to the house and Kopec told them he was tired and to leave.

Burge said Phillips told him Sponaugle jumped into the driver’s seat when they were leaving and drove down the driveway, across the road and into the field.

“I talked to Sponaugle, who refused to talk to me,” Burge said. “She finally said that Phillips was the only one driving.”

Burge said after a tow truck was called, Kopec told him he did not know which woman was driving the vehicle. Burge said he did a field sobriety test on both women and they both failed.

“At that point I read the Miranda Rights to both of them, and neither one wanted to give me a written statement,” Burge said. “During that time, Miss Sponaugle, at least two times at Kopec’s house and once in the city building, offered Miss Phillips $2,000 cash to ‘take the rap for this because this will be my third offense DUI.'”