BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - One of two drivers charged in a fiery crash that left five people dead was in court Wednesday for the start of her trial.
Kelsye Hall, 26, of Baton Rouge, faces five counts of negligent homicide. Her defense attorney is Alfred Williams. Ron Gathe is prosecuting the case. District Judge Trudy White is presiding over the bench trial. Opening statements began at 1:30 p.m.
Anxious family members of the five victims packed District Court Judge Trudy White's court room as the state presented its case against Hall. The crash happened on I-10 East between Highland Road and Manchac on March 13, 2011, claiming the lives of two women and three children from Prairieville
First, two family members identified those killed in the horrific crash. Then police gave their accounts of what happened that night saying Hall and David Leger were having some sort of road rage race at high speeds.
The victims were identified as:
Effie Fontenot, 29
Kimberly Stagg, 19
Keagan Fontenot, 11
Hunter Johnson, 7
Austin Fontenot, 3
Louisiana State Police reported Hall was driving the sport utility vehicle involved in the wreck. Troopers said she was driving ahead of David Leger, 29, of Palmetto, on I-10 West and for some distance, they were both driving recklessly. It is believed Leger tried to pass Hall, but she wouldn't let him. Investigators suspect Leger's truck clipped the front of Hall's SUV, which sent him across the median.
Authorities said the truck collided head-on with the Acura the victims were riding in and the car burst into flames.
John Robie, an off-duty firefighter who witnessed the crash, says the flames were so intense, he couldn't get close to the car.
"Very gruesome scene. Horrible," said Robie.
Troopers said Leger is suspected of being impaired at the time of the crash. He is charged with five counts of vehicular homicide. His case has not yet gone to trial.