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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  • by C.J. Location: Pikeville on Feb 7, 2010 at 02:21 AM
    Well, mystery solved. There is no longer any question on what happened, and who was driving. Pente has plead guilty. He also admitted to creating a false story about another driver. He did it. He tried to run, and lie, and thankfully, in this case, justice was served.
  • by jeremy Location: ky on Mar 19, 2009 at 11:22 PM
    i know both the parties involved in this the elswick's & pente but i believe that everyone should find out all the facts before they start leaving comments on here that are only half true. yes jonathan was drinking earlier that day but it hasn't been proven that he was the one driving & our hearts do go out to the elswick family because they lost a truly wonderful person.But Jonathan has a family too.
  • by Nancy Location: Michigan on Oct 18, 2008 at 11:32 PM
    This man has devastated my family. My Aunt is who was murdered by this mans selfish actions. My other family members who were in the wreck and are still surviving are hurt beyond belief, physically and emotionaly. My Aunt Sue is gone and we can never see her smile again or hear her sweet voice. I can only say I pray this murderer gets what he deserves. It is odvious that this jerk does not care about his kids or anyone else, only about the "good time" the alcohol and drugs bring. What makes this even more horrible is the fact that this guy has 3 previous incidences with alcohol. Why was he even free to kill my aunt? To bad Kentucky does not have the death penalty because that is what he deserves.
  • by melinda Location: mount sterling on Oct 14, 2008 at 07:51 AM
    if he thought so much of his kids why was he out drinking and doing drugs instead of being home with them, don't use your kids as a crutch.


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