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A murder charge against a man in a tractor-trailer accident last year has been amended to second-degree manslaughter – but he’s back in jail for violating his bond.
Lonnie Monroe, 44, of Shelbyville had been arrested Sept. 24 by Kentucky State Police and charged with murder in the death of James Jacob, 38, but on Oct. 4 that charge was amended to a Class C felony, which carries a penalty of 5 to 10 years in prison.
“After reviewing the case with the assistant commonwealth attorney [Melanie Carroll], she felt that the circumstances surrounding it better fit manslaughter than murder,” KSP Trooper Hunter Martin said.
Monroe’s bond was lowered from $250,000 to 10 percent of $50,000, so he was able to bond out for $5,000 on Oct. 4, but he was arrested again Oct. 24 for violating the conditions of his bond release, Martin said.
He said he could not elaborate further on the bond offense that landed Monroe back in jail.
Monroe’s bond has been raised to $50,000 cash.
He does not yet have a court hearing scheduled.
Monroe also is charged with DUI in a commercial vehicle.
Kentucky State Police spokesperson Ron Turley said that Monroe was under the influence of methamphetamines when the accident occurred.
The crash happened at shortly before noon on Nov. 9, 2011, 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, who lived on Cherry Lane, was killed in the crash and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Turley said he does not know why it took so long to bring charges in the accident.
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.
Oliver said DUI penalties in commercial vehicles are harsher than in passenger cars.
The legal limit for drivers of commercial vehicles (.04) is only half that for passenger cars (08).