BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A jury has found a man guilty of vehicular homicide after five people died in a fiery "road rage" crash that happened in 2011.
David Leger, 32, of Palmetto, is the second suspect charged in the 2011 incident. He was found guilty of five counts of vehicular homicide and faces up to 30 years in prison on each count. Leger's defense attorney asked for a post conviction bond, which will be set at $10,000. His sentencing date has been set for August 26, 2014.
Both sides wrapped up their closing arguments, the judge issued instructions and the jury got the case just before 5 p.m. However, all parties returned to court around 5:35 p.m. because the jurors had a question. They wanted to see the definition of vehicular homicide and negligent homicide. The jury had their verdict by 6:15 p.m.
Earlier in the day, the defense rested its case after calling just one witness and the prosecution had no rebuttal. Closing arguments got underway after lunch.
Defense attorney Tommy Damico called Michael Gillen, an accident reconstructionist, as his only witness. He testified the collision of the back left bumper of Leger's truck and front right of Kelsye Hall's SUV caused a "sudden redirection of his [Leger's] pickup."
He added everything happened in three seconds. Gillen also told the jury there were deficiencies in the State Police investigation, but that can be because of all the chaos that night.
"I don't think the intoxication had anything to do with this," Gillen testified during questioning.
"Mr. Leger was projected off by Ms. Hall," Gillen added.
The jury believes Leger is guilty of the deaths of five people after losing control of his truck and hitting the victim's car during an alleged road rage incident.
The victims were:
Proceedings were delayed after a surprise request from the defense on Thursday. It was scheduled to begin its case, but Damico asked for a recess because of an issue with evidence and Judge Trudy White granted it.
On Wednesday, prosecutors argued their case, calling 12 witnesses to the stand including the woman convicted in the incident, Kelsye Hall. First responders, the coroner's office, drivers of other cars and two of the victims' moms also testified.
Hall is currently on probation and parole supervision after she served her sentence. She 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. She was released from prison on July 6. She is on probation until 2019.
The defense said Hall is to blame for the deadly crash.
The wreck happened on I-10 East between Highland Road and Manchac Bayou on March 13, 2011. 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. 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.
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