Prosecution presents case against second driver in deadly 'road - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Prosecution presents case against second driver in deadly 'road rage' crash that killed 5

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Source: Leah Ellsworth/WAFB Source: Leah Ellsworth/WAFB
David Leger (Source: Leah Ellsworth/WAFB) David Leger (Source: Leah Ellsworth/WAFB)
Top: Liz Fontenot, Bottom Left to Right: Kegan Fontenot, Austin Fontenot and Hunter Johnson (Source: Family) Top: Liz Fontenot, Bottom Left to Right: Kegan Fontenot, Austin Fontenot and Hunter Johnson (Source: Family)
Kimberly Stagg (Source: Family) Kimberly Stagg (Source: Family)
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The prosecution presented and rested its case Wednesday in the trial for the second driver charged in a “road rage” crash that killed five people, including three children.

David Leger, 32, of Palmetto, faces five counts of vehicular homicide in a fiery crash on I-10 near Prairieville in 2011. A six-person jury will decide Leger’s fate. There is also one alternate. Proceedings got started at 9:20 a.m. The prosecution wrapped up its case against Leger by the end of the day after presenting 12 witnesses and the defense could begin its case as early as Thursday morning.

"We think we proved our case beyond a reasonable doubt," prosecutor Ron Gathe said after proceedings wrapped up for the day. 

"I don't think that anything the state presented today shows my client was guilty of vehicular homicide," said defense attorney Tommy Damico.

The victims were identified as:

Liz Fontenot, 29

Kimberly Stagg, 19

Keagan Fontenot, 11

Hunter Johnson, 7

Austin Fontenot, 3

They were all from Prairieville. Liz Fontenot is the mother of the three children killed in the crash. 

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In his opening statement, Gathe told the jury the reason for the court proceeding is because an empty bottle of alcohol was found in Leger's truck and his blood alcohol content level returned at 0.1.

“Leger needs to endure a new lifestyle change,” Gathe said.

In his opening statement, Damico said his client is not guilty. He said Leger is innocent of the five counts of vehicular homicide.

“I warned you yesterday about sympathy that prosecution would try to get to your emotional side, but this isn't about emotions,” Damico said.

He said the second driver, Kelsye Hall, caused this wreck. He said she is the key to this accident so much so that she was prosecuted.

"He [Leger] was the prey to the predator who you will come to see as Kelsye Hall. She is the predator," Damico added.

The prosecution’s first witness was Sue Fontenot, the mother of victim Liz Fontenot. Sue Fontenot choked up when she was asked who all was in the car. Karen Stagg, the mother of victim Kim Stagg cried as she listened to Fontenot testify. Karen Stagg was the second witness called to the stand by the prosecution.

The state's third witness was Nick Washington with the East Baton Rouge Coroner's Office. He was asked to describe what he saw at the scene of the crash.

"Severely burned vehicle with five deceased persons," Washington replied. "We had to do it by dental work."

"Why?" asked prosecutor William Jordan.

"Because of the severity to the bodies at the time," Washington answered.

The fourth witness for the prosecution was Trooper James Summerford with Louisiana State Police He said the scene was complete chaos.

"Oh my God, I don't know what to do," Summerford told the jury he said upon arrival. “It was a little overwhelming. It was like a plane had landed on the interstate and exploded. I knew it was more than a vehicle fire.”

Summerford was called to the stand to identify pictures of the vehicles involved in the crash. "It was a little overwhelming," said Summorford. "It was like a plane had landed on the interstate and exploded. I knew it was more than a vehicle fire."

After a recess for lunch, the prosecution called Trooper Daryl Davis to the stand. The next witness called was Trooper Burnell Thompson. He was told to go to the hospital and draw blood from Leger for a BAC reading. Thompson testified he also tested Hall’s BAC, which returned with a 0.00 level.

Kelsye Hall, the other driver charged in the crash, was then called to the stand.

"I just noticed a white pickup truck was following me pretty close," Hall testified.

She also said she first noticed him at the Tanger Outlet. Hall added she had her cruise set at 60 or 65 mph.

“I saw him hit the cars in oncoming traffic,” Hall said.

“What did you see?” asked prosecutor William Jordan.

“I saw sparks and I did see the white truck,” Hall answered.

“How many times did you try to get out of the way?” Jordan then asked.

“I can say six-plus in the 10 miles,” Hall replied.

Investigators said Leger was drunk at the time of the crash that they described as road rage. It 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 showed Leger was legally drunk at 0.1. The legal limit is 0.08. The prosecution was going to call the toxicologist to the stand, but the defense accepted that Leger's BAC was at 0.1, so there was no need to take the stand.

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. Hall was released from prison on Sunday, July 6. She is on probation until 2019.

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