2017-02-15 / Front Page

Judge upholds jail sentence for driver who hit teen

Patricia Pugh Patricia Pugh Circuit Court Judge Laura Faircloth upheld a lower court’s six-month jail sentence for the driver who struck a Morgan County teenager last December and caused the boy near-fatal injuries.

On Tuesday, January 31, Judge Faircloth sentenced Patricia Pugh, 42, of Unger Store Road, Berkeley Springs to six months in the Eastern Regional Jail for reckless driving causing severe injury. Pugh was taken into custody at the end of the hearing.

Magistrate Kermit Ambrose had imposed the jail sentence in October 2016 after a petit jury found Pugh guilty of the misdemeanor charge following a two-day trial.

Pugh’s attorney quickly appealed the sentence, saying Ambrose had abused his discretion in imposing the maximum allowable sentence. Pugh’s attorney argued that his client posed no danger to society and is an upstanding member of the community, a mother and someone with no criminal record.

Before Judge Faircloth imposed the jail sentence, the family of Nolan Heironimus, the boy who was struck by Pugh’s SUV, spoke before the court, outlining the impact the incident had on their son. Magistrate Ambrose had not asked for a victim impact statement at the time of Pugh’s initial sentencing.

Heironimus was 15 at the time of the accident. He was with a large church youth group from Greenwood going house to house Christmas caroling, and had run toward the roadway, where Pugh’s vehicle hit him. The impact of the collision caused the teen a traumatic brain injury in addition to other severe physical injuries. He was hospitalized for months and continues to receive rehabilitation treatment to regain his normal functioning.

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