BUCKHANNON – An Upshur County man was arrested after allegedly striking his girlfriend with a vehicle while under the influence, resulting in her death.
Harold Samples, 66, of Rock Cave, was arrested for driving under the influence with death, a felony.
According to the criminal complaint in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s Office filed by Upshur County Sheriff’s Deputy Cole Bender, on Saturday, May 6, Bender was dispatched by the E911 Upshur County Communication Center to a traumatic incident that occurred on Salem Ridge Road. Upon Bender’s arrival, he saw Arlene Rose Phillips lying on the ground, surrounded by Upshur County EMS workesr and firefighters from the Banks District Volunteer Fire Department.
According to the police report, Samples was the boyfriend of Phillips, who owned the residence and property where the incident occurred.
Bender saw Phillips lying on the ground next to a 2008 Chevy Silverado owned by Samples and also noticed multiple unopened cans of Bud Light near Phillips, the file says. While speaking to Samples, Bender detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from his person, and Samples allegedly told officers he had consumed four or five beers prior to the incident.
Samples repeatedly said he did not mean to hurt Phillips and that she walked behind the vehicle he was driving, according to the criminal complaint. Samples allegedly admitted that while backing up in the driveway of the residence, he ran over Samples. Samples was subsequently transported from the scene by Upshur County EMS to a landing zone, where she was flown from the scene due to serious injuries. Bender briefly left the scene to acquire better cellphone service to contact the Upshur County Prosecuting Attorney.
After speaking with the prosecuting attorney, Bender immediately returned to the scene and administered several standardized field sobriety tests, which Samples was allegedly unable to perform. Samples was placed under arrest and transported to St Joseph’s Hospital to obtain a sample of his blood. Samples consented to the blood sample, and Bender then transported Samples to the Upshur County Sheriff’s office for processing and then to Tygart Valley Regional Jail.
Bender received information that Arlene Rose Phillips passed away at approximately 10:26 a.m. on Saturday, May 6 because of the injuries she suffered from this incident. On Tuesday, Upshur County Sheriff Mike Coffman told My Buckhannon the investigation was ongoing.
Upshur County Magistrate Mark Davis set bail at $100,000 cash only.
The penalty for a conviction of DUI with death is confinement in the state penitentiary for not less than three nor more than 15 years and a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $3,000. The person shall also have her or his license to operate a motor vehicle revoked by the Commissioner of the Division of Motor Vehicles for a period of 10 years or for a period of time conditioned on participation in the test-and-lock program.