Pelfrey pleads not guilty to manslaughter

Published 11:00 am Friday, November 4, 2016

By Fred Petke

The man charged with the deaths of two women in a crash on Bypass Road made his first appearance in court Thursday.

James Pelfrey, 84, is facing two counts of second-degree manslaughter and one count of first-degree assault for the June 7 crash near Colby Road.

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In an interview last week following his arrest, Pelfrey said a vehicle behind him had its bright lights on and was bumping his Cadillac. Pelfrey said he was blinded by the other car’s headlights and never saw the stopped vehicle in front of him.

Police said a Ford Aspire was hit from behind by Pelfrey’s car, which was moving at highway speeds. Two


of the women in the Ford, 62-year-old Sarah Helfrich and 35-year-old Juanetta Mitchell, both of Richmond, were killed in the collision. A passenger in the car, 38-year-old Sadalia Mitchell, was injured and treated at the hospital.

Pelfrey’s attorney Mitchell Berryman asked Clark Circuit Judge Jean Chenault Logue to lower Pelfrey’s $20,000 cash bond. Pelfrey, he said, has surrendered his driver’s license and does not own a car, so he definitely would not be driving.

“He killed two people in this crash,” Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Charles Johnson said. “The evidence will show his conduct was wanton.”

Logue said she would consider the request.

Pelfrey is due back in court Dec. 1.

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About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email or call 859-759-0051.

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