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Spare pleads guilty to vehicular homicide

Donna Jo Spare, 62, of Afton pleaded guilty to homicide by vehicle, a class B felony, during a plea hearing 10 a.m. Friday at Union County Courthouse. The plea came after a Jan. 16, 2016, accident in which Deanne Lee Hoffman died.

Spare was then remanded to the custody of Union County Sheriff’s Office.

“At this point, because it was a class B felony, she was remanded to the custody of the jail pending sentencing,” said Union County Attorney Tim Kenyon. “This is one of those matters where, after a guilty plea, you are not allowed to be on bond pending sentencing.”

She is currently being held in Ringgold County Jail for Union County on no bond.

Spare’s plea came after an eight-month investigation into the 2016 accident. According to a Union County Sheriff report, at about 9:15 p.m. Jan. 16, 2016, Spare was driving a 2001 Chevrolet on Highway 34 east of Creston. Near the intersection of Highway 34 and Jaguar Avenue, Spare crossed over the center line into the westbound lane of traffic. Spare’s vehicle struck a vehicle operated by Hoffman.

Hoffman died as a result of injuries sustained in the collision.

Assisting in the investigation were Creston Police Department, Union County Sheriff’s Office, Iowa State Patrol, Creston and Afton fire departments and Greater Regional Medical Center.

Subsequent investigation by Iowa State Highway Patrol officers indicated the blood alcohol concentration of Spare was in excess of .08 at the time of the collision, and Spare was officially charged on a Union County warrant in August 2016.

“I can only speculate (as to her plea),” Kenyon said. “What I could say was there was a tremendous amount of information because it was unusual in the fact that we had witnesses in other vehicles, so the amount of evidence that was going to be available was going to be substantial.”

A sentencing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. March 17 at the courthouse. A maximum sentence for a class B felony is 25 years, with an additional six-year bar on her driver’s license.

“There’s a requirement that the court order restitution to the victim and that will be what they call a pre-sentence investigation,” Kenyon said. “There’s going to be a pre-sentence report that has to be completed for that.”

Any restitution Spare may have to pay will go to Hoffman’s estate.

“There were a lot of people involved,” Kenyon said. “And there will be a lot of people affected by this.”

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