Judge denies bond for driver charged in double fatality accident

Jeff Lehr, The Joplin Globe, Mo.
·2 min read

Mar. 19—Rita Glasgow waived a preliminary hearing Thursday on amended charges she is facing in the Jan. 3 crash that claimed the lives of a Joplin couple.

Glasgow, 31, is accused of being under the influence of methamphetamine and the anti-convulsant medication Klonopin when the stolen pickup truck she was driving sped through a stop sign at 28th Street and Connecticut Avenue and collided with a vehicle occupied by Terry and Rhonda Copple.

Rhonda Copple, 48, died at the scene of the crash. Terry Copple, 55, died later at a hospital.

Glasgow, of Joplin, who suffered serious injuries, was charged initially with three felony counts: driving while intoxicated resulting in the death of two others, vehicle tampering and possession of a controlled substance.

Police say a bag containing 3.7 grams of methamphetamine was discovered on her person at the hospital, and police say she admitted to having taken meth and Klonopin before driving.

Prosecutor Theresa Kenney amended the Class B felony count of driving while intoxicated at Thursday's hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court, adding prior and persistent offender status to the charge, which effectively raises the upper limit of the punishment range Glasgow is facing to the possibility of a life sentence. She faces up to seven years on each of the other counts.

Public defender Craig Lowe asked Associate Judge Joe Hensley at the hearing to consider setting bond for his client. Glasgow has been held without bond since her arrest in the wake of the crash.

Lowe said his client has a federal court hold on her that she would like to address but needs to get out on bond on the state charge first. Kenney expressed the state's opposition to the bond request, pointing out that Glasgow faces prior drug trafficking charges in Newton County and was out on bond on those charges when the fatal crash took place.

"If we send her to the feds, the state will have trouble getting her back here to prosecute in this case," Kenney told the judge.

Several of the victims' family members were at the bond modification hearing to testify in opposition to the request if needed. But Hensley rendered that unnecessary by denying the request without hearing any testimony.