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Conservative radio host arrested for DUI again

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A local conservative radio host and former pastor is again facing a drunken driving charge.

Mike Agnello, 61, was arrested early Sunday in Charleston after a traffic stop, Lt. Preston Hickman said. The arrest was recorded at 12:30 a.m. Sunday, he said.

Agnello, who hosts "58 Live" 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. weeknights on 58 WCHS radio, has again been taken off the air following this recent arrest, according to the station's website.

Patrolman M.Z. Blackledge spotted a blue Ford Focus touch the centerline on Summers Street and then turn right onto Kanawha Boulevard from the left-turn lane, according to a complaint filed in Kanawha Magistrate Court.

The officer stopped the car near the intersection of Court and Quarrier streets. He identified Agnello as the driver and noted the odor of alcohol. Blackledge asked Agnello how many alcoholic beverages he'd had, to which he responded "a few," according to the complaint.

A breath test recorded Agnello's blood alcohol content as .194, more than twice the legal limit.

Agnello was convicted on a DUI charge in 2009. In June 2010, he was terminated from the station after a series of "off-air" incidents, including a domestic battery charge that was later dropped.

He returned to the airwaves in July 2011. At the time, station General Manager Mike Buxser said Agnello deserved a second chance and that he looked forward to having his "fiery personality" back on the air.

When reached at home Sunday, Buxser said it was a personnel matter and that he couldn't comment. He referred a reporter to his comments in stories on the radio station's website.

"We have suspended him without pay pending the outcome of the investigation," Buxser said in online articles on WCHS 58 and MetroNews. "We believe in second chances. However, this latest arrest is a serious matter and we will take appropriate action when all the facts are in."

He was arrested in June 2010 after a domestic situation with his then-girlfriend. The girlfriend, Amy Dorsey, was arrested the next day after allegedly driving under the influence and crashing into a Charleston Fire Department SUV parked at the Bigley Avenue Go-Mart.

Agnello was arrested again in August 2010 in Nitro. Officers pulled him over for speeding but a check of his license showed it was revoked for DUI in 2009. He was arrested in Dunbar in July 2009 and charged with aggravated DUI after police saw him swerving in and out of traffic, nearly striking several vehicles on Interstate 64.

Agnello moved to Charleston in 1986 after meeting local evangelist Davey Jo Hissom. A Chicago native, Agnello turned to religion at age 25 while battling addiction to drugs and alcohol. He became part of Hissom's New Life Church and took over as pastor when Hissom was killed in a plane crash, according to newspaper archives.

He worked closely with Hissom's widow, Rhonda, in the church's television ministry but shocked the large congregation in 1987 when he confessed he'd grown "too close" to her.

They both left the area but later returned. He went back into ministry, but not at New Life Church. He hosted the radio show and also has worked as an insurance salesman, hairstylist and managed Rhonda's Ritzy Rags, Hissom's Charleston boutique and salon.

He and Hissom married but divorced in 2008.

Agnello was taken to South Central Regional Jail after the arrest and was released on bond Sunday morning.

Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at or 304-348-4850.

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