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Man charged with murder in Berea crash

A Berea man who survived a fatal traffic accident last month has been charged with murder for his role in the crash.

Berea police had initially charged Elmer R. French, 70, with second-degree driving under the influence after a Dec. 3 crash near the intersection of Scaffold Cane Road and Logston Lane. Police say French's Dodge pickup crossed the center line and hit a Toyota Camry head-on. The driver of the Camry, Jason C. Isaacs, 35, died at the University of Kentucky Hospital.

French was cited at the time of the crash. He was treated at UK Hospital for severe, non-life-threatening injuries, said Berea Police Capt. Ken Clark.

Investigators added the murder charge after talking with prosecutors, he said.

Vehicular homicide defendants can face at least three charges, which have wide-ranging penalties: reckless homicide, 1-5 years; second-degree manslaughter, 5-10 years; and wanton murder, 20 years to life.

When asked about the decision to charge French with murder, Clark cited a state statute that says a person can be found guilty of murder if he operated a motor vehicle with extreme indifference to human life and caused the death of another person.

Clark said French's blood-alcohol concentration was at least twice the legal limit for driving but declined to say what the exact concentration was.

French was released from the Madison County jail after posting a $100,000 bond.