Driver in serious wreck pleads guilty

More than seven months after a Belpre accident that sent a woman and a young girl to the hospital, a Waverly, W.Va., man pleaded guilty to two vehicular assault charges in the case.

David L. McPherson II, 36, of Route 2, entered the guilty pleas Monday in Washington County Common Pleas Court.

Each fourth-degree felony count of vehicular assault carries a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison.

“Last November, the defendant was driving down in Belpre, on Campus Drive and Stone Road, when he went left of center and hit a grandmother and her granddaughter,” said Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Jared Erb.

The two women and McPherson were taken to Camden Clark Medical Center in Parkersburg, said Erb. The grandmother was treated for a broken arm. The girl, who was 7 at the time of the crash, was transported to Charleston where she was treated for internal injuries, he said.

Blood work performed on McPherson at the hospital showed he had a .354 percent blood alcohol content, well over the 0.08 legal limit in Ohio, said Erb.

McPherson did not have a valid license at the time of the accident, he added.

He was initially indicted on two third-degree felony charges of aggravated vehicular assault-charges which defined the accident as a result of drunk driving. However, Ohio law stipulates that out-of-state blood work can not be used to prove a crash resulted from drunk driving.

Ohio law does allow for the out-of-state blood work to be used to prove recklessness. Therefore, McPherson was indicted again in April, this time on the fourth-degree felony charges that allowed for the admission of the blood work.

Asked by Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Randall Burnworth if he was currently suffering from any physical problems, McPherson said that he needs to undergo knee surgery and that he still has internal injuries from the accident.

“Do any of those impair your understanding of today’s proceedings?” asked Burnworth.

They did not, said McPherson.

In exchange for McPherson’s guilty plea, the state agreed to recommend 60 days in the Washington County Jail on each of the two counts. The two 60-day sentences would run concurrently and McPherson would receive credit for 22 days already served, said Erb.

McPherson would additionally serve three years community control and would receive a one-year license suspension under the agreed disposition.

Burnworth scheduled McPherson’s sentencing for 4 p.m. Aug. 12.