Floyd County Man Charged With Murder After Deadly Crash Appears In Court

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email


Police say a Floyd County man charged with murder after a deadly car crash admitted he was driving the truck and left the scene.

The crash happened on U.S. 23 in Harold two weeks ago.

On Monday, 37-year-old Jonathan Pente appeared in court for the first time.

The detective says Pente was drunk at the time of the crash and test results show his blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.

In court, the detective shared what Pente told him after he was caught.

Police say 37 year old Jonathan Pente admitted he was driving the pick-up truck that hit a van, killing a woman and injuring three others.

“He told me he was operating the vehicle to get home and see his children,” Detective Eddie Crum said.

But the detective said Pente's friend told a different story.

He says the friend said Pente was at his house drinking, the two got into an argument, and Pente got in the friend's truck and drove away.

Police say soon after, Pente crossed the center line on US-23 in Harold and crashed into the van.

Witnesses say Pente got out of the truck and ran away.

Troopers say they later found him in the nearby woods.

“Strong smell of alcoholic beverages, his eyes were glassy, his speech was slurred a little bit. i noticed a blue residue in both nostrils,” Detective Crum said.

Police say two hours after the crash, his blood alcohol level was .21, more than double the legal limit.

They say he also had drugs in his system.

That's why they charged him with murder for the death of 63 year old Loretta Elswick, who died at the crash scene.

Troopers say Pente resisted arrest.

“He told me he went into the hills thinking he was trying to see his kids. He knew he was in trouble so he was trying to get home to see his kids,” Detective Crum said.
Troopers used a taser on him to get him to jail and added charges of leaving the scene of an accident and menacing. Now a grand jury will decide his case.

Pente is being held on a half-million dollar bond.

His attorney did not comment.

Police say at least one other man injured in the crash is still in the trauma unit in a West Virginia hospital, so Pente could face more charges.

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