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Man wanted in boat trailer death commits suicide

Posted July 9, 2015

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— The man wanted in the death of a 20-year-old woman thrown from a boat trailer on Tuesday shot and killed himself Thursday, according to Lt. Jeff Gordon of the State Highway Patrol.

Anthony James Pantano, 29, of Sanford, faced charges of felony death by motor vehicle, felony hit and run, driving while impaired and careless and reckless driving.

According to Gordon, two officers went to Pantano's home Thursday and heard a single gunshot. Officers called for backup and surrounded the suspect’s home at 116 Wood Run. Upon entering, authorities found Pantano dead from a single self-inflicted gunshot in a back bedroom.

Troopers said Allison Bennett, 20, of Fort Bragg, was sitting in the front of the boat being towed by Pantano’s truck Tuesday night when Pantano ran off a road in the Carolina Lakes community, in Harnett County, causing the trailer to bounce. Bennett was thrown from the boat and then struck by the trailer, troopers said.

According to troopers, Pantano stopped as passengers checked on Bennett, but then left the scene in his 1999 Dodge pickup truck.

Bennett was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, where she later died. Investigators said they believe alcohol was a factor in the crash.

26 Comments

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  • Bill Gibson Jan 20, 2016
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    This was a sad case. They were having fun during the day. They got drunk. He shouldn't have been driving drunk. She shouldn't have been sitting on the boat/trailer drunk. Getting angry at him, as if this was his "ex" that he intentionally hunted down and killed is stupid. It was an accident. Yeah, his life as he had planned it was over, but its not that he couldn't have had a good life after serving whatever "time" the State dished out. There are a bunch of couples that have fun, get drunk, drive drunk and still get home okay. But this is a warning to all, that life is short and sometimes shorter than we would hope and can change in the blink of an eye. Sorry for them both, and their families and loved ones.

  • Jacob Smith Jul 10, 2015
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    As this is now "backburner news" this will be my last reply.

    It does not matter whether one or both were military as far as who the responsible police agencies are - ithis is only a function of WHERE the accident/ occurred - or ate least - THAT IS THE WAY IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE.

    If it happened on base - that is Federal land and the "authority" would be federal. Yet this happened on either city or county boundaries outside of the base, and probably on a highway such that the State Patrol would have been involved.

    Either way you play it - one thing stands out - that the police believe they have the right to selectively enforce the law depending on what is the "station" of the perpetrator.

    Such thinking directly facilitated the suicide of that Special Forces soldier.

    And Lord Only Knows what other havoc such thinking and practice has caused in the past - and will be caused in the future.

  • Brandy Decker Jul 10, 2015
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    If both were military, delay to apprehend and charge may have been due to the state coordinating with military police? The federal Charges/punishment may have been more severe.

    Tragedy the whole way around . . .

  • Cary Tom Jul 10, 2015
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    As far as we know he did not demand she sit in the boat. Bad (alcohol impaired) judgement on her part as much as his...Sad for all

  • Reggie Berryman Jul 10, 2015
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    I smell a lawsuit...At the taxpayers expense!

  • Christopher Byrne Jul 10, 2015
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    Words of wisdom. And it ain't preaching. Have some self control. A huge tragedy all around.

  • Jacob Smith Jul 9, 2015
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    "I knew where he lived, and I didn't believe he was flight risk, I wouldn't get in a hurry to go make an arrest."

    Wait a minute - did the guy run away from a fatal accident or not? Would this make you believe he was "not a flight risk" even if you knew where he lived? What sort of "logic" is this?

    "So the guy killed himself, but we cannot blame the police for that. If they had arrested him that moment, he might have hung himself in his cell that night. Clearly, he was determined."

    Well, I don't want to descend into "name calling" here, yet that is such a leap that it IS difficult to stand back.

    End of the day - the police allowed the guy the time and opportunity to kill himself - the police practiced a patented "selective investigation" such that he was allowed to wander around and wallow in his drunken mental pit till he finally decided to kill himself - while anyone else would have been hunted and shot down like a rabid dog.

  • Paul Jones Jul 9, 2015
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    If I were the guy in charge (and I'm sure many appreciate I'm not :-) ), I knew who the suspect was, I knew where he lived, and I didn't believe he was flight risk, I wouldn't get in a hurry to go make an arrest. The justice system is relatively slow-moving, anyway. But, it does move and the guy would answer to the charges.

    So the guy killed himself, but we cannot blame the police for that. If they had arrested him that moment, he might have hung himself in his cell that night. Clearly, he was determined.

  • Jacob Smith Jul 9, 2015
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    Soul Searching for not treating this like any other "leaving the scene of an fatal accident" and IMMEDIATLY searching for the guy - like they would have for nearly anybody else.

    They (the police) apparently thought they were giving the guy some leeway as he was a special forces troop.

    What they gave the guy was enough time to fall into a pit and brood long enough to finally decide to kill himself.

    If it had of been most anyone else - the SWAT team would have been all over it in a matter on minutes - if not an hour or two.

    Instead they waited from Tuesday night till at least Thursday morning to even actively look for the guy.

  • Paul Jones Jul 9, 2015
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    Soul searching for what?

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