One dead, one charged with murder in car vs. motorcycle wreck
By Chris Harris and Heather Tomlinson, CJ Staff Writers Commonwealth Journal
Science Hill —
A Pulaski County High School senior is dead and a man has been charged with murder after a two-vehicle collision occurred late Monday evening.
Jacob Ebenstein, 19, of Puncheon Lane, Eubank, was pronounced dead following the accident, which occurred at 10:34 p.m. approximately 10 miles north of Somerset at the intersection of Ky. 635 and Smith Vault Road.
The PCHS community is reeling from the sudden loss, as Ebenstein was only around a month away from graduating high school.
“Any time we lose a member of our school community, the impact is felt by everyone,” said Sonya Wilds, assistant superintendent of Pulaski County Schools. “Jacob has been with us his entire school career so losing a senior, a month before graduation, makes the loss even more tragic.”
According to the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department, William S. Wesley, 40, of Stanford Street, Science Hill, was operating a 1999 Hyundai eastbound on Ky. 635 when he crossed into the path of a 2003 Suzuki motorcycle driven by Ebenstein, which was headed westbound.
Ebenstein was ejected from the motorcycle. According to Sheriff Todd Wood, he was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.
Ebenstein was treated for his injuries at the scene by Somerset-Pulaski EMS and flown by Air Methods to the University of Kentucky Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead by the Fayette County Coroner’s Office.
Wesley was arrested at the scene and charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol/drugs/etc., .08, a first offense.
On Monday afternoon, the sheriff’s office obtained a warrant to charge Wesley with one count of murder in connection with the accident,
Wesley remained in the Pulaski County Detention Center on a $500,000 cash bond.
According to the warrant, Wesley smelled strongly of alcohol and told Deputy Charles Boston that he had been fishing and drank four beers within the last two hours. Wesley also blew a .259 on the preliminary breath test. A blood sample was taken and sent to the Kentucky State Police lab for analysis.
Wood said that Wesley had a history of driving under the influence charges, the first in 2002 and another in 2004.
Wood said that as far as any other contributing factors, such as speed, those have yet to be completely determined by investigators. The accident reconstruction team is still investigating the collision.
Many of Ebenstein’s classmates at Pulaski County High School were alerted in the early morning hours Tuesday about the incident, and they took to the popular social networking site Facebook to voice their grief.
“(W)aking up to Jacob Ebenstein being gone yeah not gonna be a good day at all!” wrote one friend on Ebenstein’s Facebook page. “(It’s) not even been that long and (I) miss you (so) much already!”
Ebenstein, who posted pictures of his Suzuki motorcycle on his Facebook page, also worked at Culver’s restaurant in Somerset.
“Work will never be the same again,” posted one of Ebenstein’s coworkers. “Jacob you brought so much life to that place and it can never ever be replaced. You were always (so) happy and I'm really glad I got to spend the last two years working with you and I'm gonna miss you buddy.”
Grief counselors were on hand all day Tuesday at PCHS to help Ebenstein’s fellow classmates deal with the sudden loss, according to Wilds. The grief counseling team will be back at the school today.
Wilds said plans have been set in motion to somehow honor Ebenstein and his family, although those details haven’t yet been developed.
“This is what we do,” said Wilds. “We work through the initial shock of it all and give them (the students) a positive outlet to get through it.”
Pulaski County Schools Superintendent Steve Butcher asked for a moment of silence in remembrance of Ebenstein and in honor of his family during Tuesday’s Pulaski County Board of Education meeting.
Funeral arrangements have been set for Ebenstein. A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at Morris & Hislope Funeral Home in Science Hill. Visitation is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday at the funeral home.
“Our focus is on supporting his classmates during this difficult time and helping them cope with the loss,” said Wilds. “Our deepest regrets go out to his family.”