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Suspect's bond increased to $500K following fatal wrong-way driving crash

Thomas Catalina appeared in court again and his attorney requested his murder charge be lessened. A 26-year-old man was killed in the crash in late August.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The man charged in a deadly wrong-way driving crash in late August once again appeared in a Louisville court on Friday for a probable cause hearing.

Louisville Metro Police Officer Clarence Bufford Jr. testified that Thomas Catalina was driving the wrong way down I-65 on Aug. 28, going nearly 105 mph before he allegedly hit multiple cars, his truck bursting into flames. 

26-year-old Rajnu Masoud, from Bowling Green, was killed in the crash.

Masoud's sister, Grace Gusta said she talked to him on the phone moments before  the crash happened. Gusta said she still can't believe Masoud's gone.

"“He was my best friend,” she cried. "Now I don't have nobody."

Gusta said her brother was the type of man who always checked on everyone. 

"He wanted to help a lot of people. Like refugee people. That's what he wanted," she said.

Catalina is charged with murder, fourth-degree assault, driving under the influence, driving without car insurance and wanton endangerment.

In court, his attorney requested Judge Lisa Langford reduce Catalina's murder charge to manslaughter, citing there wasn't enough evidence for probable cause given his mental state at the time of the accident.

However, prosecutors argued that given that Catalina had admitted to wanting to go as fast as he could and that the methamphetamine he had taken had "messed him up," there was sufficient evidence of probable cause.

Langford agreed that there was enough probable cause to leave the murder charge as it stands.

"This is absolutely wanton endangerment that resulted in the death of an individual and two other people who were injured," she said. "Murder is the appropriate charge."

Langford also increased Catalina's cash bond from $2500,000 to $500,000. His case will go in front of a grand jury at the beginning of October.

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