BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Jury selection started Monday morning in the trial for the second driver charged in a “road rage” crash that left five people dead. By 6 p.m., the jury was seated.
David Leger, 29, of Palmetto, faces five counts of vehicular homicide in a fiery crash on I-10 East near Prairieville three years ago. It resulted in the deaths of two adults and three children. They were identified as:
The five victims were all from Prairieville. Investigators said Leger was drunk during the incident authorities described as road rage. The crash happened on I-10 East between Highland Road and Manchac Bayou on March 13, 2011. A bottle of alcohol was found in Leger's truck. Toxicology results came back showing Leger was legally drunk at 0.1. The legal limit is 0.08. Defense attorney Tommy Damico said proving alcohol use is key for the five counts of vehicular homicide his client is facing.
"They have to prove first of all that the was impaired at the time of the accident and they have to show it was a causal or direct cause of the accident, and I don't believe they're going to be able to meet their burden with regards to that," said Damico.
"That's one of the elements of the crime that we have to show he was under the influence of alcohol, and that's what we plan on doing," said prosecutor Ron Gathe.
"The case is going to show my client was not the cause of the accident that led to the deaths. It was a tragic situation, an unfortunate situation, but my client is not guilty of what they've charged him with," said Damico.
"Each family is requiring justice and hopefully we are going to get it for them," said Gathe.
The trial is taking place in Judge Trudy White’s courtroom. It is expected to be a fast-moving trial with the state presenting much, if not all, of its case Wednesday. Damico is expected to take over Thursday, and the jury could get the case as early as Thursday night.
Kelsye Hall, 26, of Baton Rouge, was convicted of five counts of negligent homicide in August 2013. She was sentenced in October 2013 to two years in prison for her role in the crash.
on Sunday, July 6. She is on probation until 2019.
Louisiana State Police reported Hall was driving a sport utility vehicle and Leger was driving a truck. Troopers said Hall was driving ahead of Leger 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.