PADUCAH — James Vanvactor — who police say ran over his girlfriend with an RV, killing her in the convention center parking lot in Paducah — appeared in court Tuesday for a preliminary hearing.
Paducah Police Detective Jason Hicks testified that Angella Hale called a man to come pick her up before the incident.
The man's name is David Downey. Hicks said Downey told him Hale had been arguing with Vanvactor.
Hicks said Downey told him that after speaking with Hale at 12:45 a.m., he went to the parking lot and spoke with Vanvactor. He asked Vanvactor where Hale was, and Vanvactor implied he didn't know where she was. Downey drove around downtown Paducah looking for Hale, then went back to the convention center parking lot two hours later.
He spoke with Vanvactor again, and as he was leaving, he saw Hale lying there. Hicks said Downey told him he got out his car and saw that she was dead. He called Vanvactor for help, but Vanvactor never did.
That's when Downey called 911, and police arrived at the scene.
Police say that call from Hale to Downey took place at 12:45 a.m. Hale was run over at 1:09 a.m. — less than 25 minutes later.
In court Tuesday, Vanvactor's attorney, Don Thomas, said this case shows how alcohol can lead to what he called a "tragic accident."
"It can lead your mind to not be in a functioning state, where you know what you're doing, know the area, your surroundings, whether in fact you may have hit someone," Thomas said.
Thomas said when all of the evidence comes in, he thinks the public is going to see that what happened to Hale was a horrible accident.
"This man loved this woman. He's never been involved in any kind of domestic with her whatsoever," Thomas said. "They have been life partners for a long time."
In court, Hicks also described surveillance video from the convention center parking lot that shows the RV backing over Hale, then pulling forward, running over her again.
Police have the surveillance video. At this point, it is evidence in an open investigation.
Vanvactor will be back in court Nov. 21.