Second trial delayed in fatal I-10 crash that killed five in 2011

A St. Landry Parish man will be tried July 7, not later this month, on vehicular homicide charges in an alleged road rage- and alcohol-related Interstate 10 crash in Baton Rouge that killed five Ascension Parish residents.

“It (the April 28 trial date) was bumped because my (accident) reconstructionist needed more time,” attorney Tommy Damico, who represents David Leger, said Tuesday.

Leger, 31, of Palmetto, faces five to 30 years in prison on each of five vehicular homicide counts if found guilty as charged in the March 13, 2011, collision.

State District Judge Trudy White convicted Kelsye Hall, 24, of Baton Rouge, in August on five counts of negligent homicide in the crash and sentenced her in October to two years in prison.

Killed in the wreck were Effie Fontenot, 29, and Kimberly Stagg, 19, both of Prairieville, and Fontenot’s three young sons: Austin Fontenot, 3; Hunter Johnson, 7; and Keagan Fontenot, 11.

The crash occurred between the Highland Road exit on eastbound I-10 and the Bluff Road overpass.

Damico contends Hall caused the accident. Leger will be tried by a jury, not the judge.

Leger and Hall were traveling westbound on I-10 when their vehicles came in contact with each other, causing Leger’s pickup to spin out of control and cross the grassy median before colliding with a car driven by Effie Fontenot, according to State Police.

State Police Lt. Doug Cain has said witnesses indicated Hall intentionally prevented Leger from passing her vehicle. At one point, Cain said, Hall was driving on the center line to keep Leger from passing on either side. When Leger drove onto the right shoulder of the interstate in an attempt to pass Hall, the rear of his pickup clipped the front of her sport utility vehicle, the trooper said.

State Police said Leger had a blood-alcohol content of 0.10 percent at the time of the crash. In Louisiana, a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent is considered presumptive evidence of drunken driving for those 21 and older.

At Hall’s sentencing, White said it was the high-speed “cat-and-mouse play” between Hall and Leger that caused the five deaths. Hall and Leger did not know each other.

Hall’s attorney, Alfred C. Williams, argued at her trial and sentencing that an intoxicated Leger was chasing Hall.