Crash leads to murder charge

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Lonnie Monroe arrested in wreck on Fisherville Road

By Lisa King

A man who crashed a tractor-trailer in which his passenger was killed last fall has been charged with that man’s murder.

Kentucky State Police arrested Lonnie Monroe, 44, of Shelbyville on Monday and charged him in connection with the death of James Jacob, 38, who lived on Cherry Lane. Monroe is also charged with DUI.

Kentucky State Police spokesperson Ron Turley said that Monroe was under the influence of methamphetamines when the crash occurred.

The crash happened at shortly before noon on Nov. 9 at the intersection of Fisherville and Veechdale roads. Monroe was driving a 1992 Ford tractor truck, pulling a trailer westbound on Fisherville Road, when he tried to pass a U.S. Postal Service truck that was stopped to deliver mail at a residence.

Monroe lost control of the vehicle on the side of the road and overturned, striking some small trees and a fence. Jacob was killed in the crash and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Turley said the does not know why it took so long to bring charges in the accident.

“On these kinds of cases, there are a lot of test results that have to come back from toxicology, and then they have to gather a lot of other evidence,” he said.

Monroe was also charged with numerous commercial vehicle offenses, including operating on a CDL (commercial driver’s license) under the influence of a controlled substance, CDL not licensed, no Intrastate authorized authority, Violation Part 391 Federal Safety Regulations (Qualification of Drivers), Violation Part 393 Federal Safety Regulations (Parts Needed Safe Operation), Violation Part 392 Federal Safety Regulations (Driving of Motor Vehicle), improper use of a farm plates and no registration plates. 

KSP Vehicle Enforcement Officer Steve Oliver said that he does not know if Monroe knowingly ignored the law concerning commercial vehicles or if he just didn’t realize his truck fit the requirements for a commercial vehicle.

“Some of the smaller trucks don’t normally fall under the guidelines of a commercial vehicle, but if they are pulling a trailer [which Monroe was], then that would make it commercial,” he said.

Although Monroe is charged to be under the influence of drugs rather than alcohol, Oliver said  DUI penalties in commercial vehicles are harsher than in passenger cars.

“That’s because a big truck can do a lot more damage if it is involved in an accident than a car can,’ he said.

He said the legal limit for drivers of commercial vehicles (.04) is only half that for passenger cars (08).

Monroe was arraigned Tuesday in Shelby County District Court and is being held at the Shelby County Detention Center under a $250,000 cash bond.