Woman convicted in DWI death arrested after crash

Sheri McElveen
Sheri McElveen

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The woman who killed a toddler a decade ago in a drunk driving crash, is back behind bars for her second DWI.

"Still know where she hit her. Still know where the baby landed," said Pierre Legrand, who helped catch the drunk driver 10 years ago.

It's been a decade since Legrand watched a horrific scene unfold, but it's like time never even moved.

"How can you hit a baby carriage and keep running?" asked Legrand.

"I heard the BAM, and the baby carrier. The pieces started going everywhere. The baby landed over there, and she was over there," said Karen Bolden, who witnessed the scene Dec. 19, 2002.

Legrand saw a car with a cracked windshield and a piece of stroller stuck under the vehicle. Minutes later, with his help, police cornered McElveen after she drove up a sidewalk, hit a pregnant Rochelle Prestly pushing her 11 month-old daughter, Ta'Leah, in a stroller.

The impact tossed Ta'Leah out of the stroller and onto the street. She died during surgery and was buried on her 1st birthday.

A judge sentenced McElveen to serve 30 years in prison. She only served two, and now nearly ten years later, "There was a crash involving a truck and a vehicle that was traveling the wrong way," said State Police Sgt. Len Marie.

Sgt. Marie said that head-on crash was Tuesday afternoon on Airline Highway. The driver? Sheri McElveen.

"They suspected impairment right away, and saw an open container, which was actually an open container of alcohol, right away," said Sgt. Marie.

The responding trooper said McElveen's story of where she was going was "wildly inconsistent" with slurred speech and glazed eyes. She was taken to the hospital, where the doctor found a bottle of vodka in her underwear.

Legrand's response hearing her second drunk driving accident?

"Why should the rest of us suffer or be in danger just for her convenience," said Legrand.

This time around, McElveen faces second offense DWI among other charges.

"She has a problem. Until she gets her problem corrected, I don't think she needs to be on the road," said Legrand.

"I feel that everyone makes mistakes, but why continue to make them? You killed someone's child before. Do you want this to happen again? The next person may not have a forgiving heart like I did," said Prestly.

McElveen bonded out Thursday on $7,000.

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