The Louisiana State Police have determined that a trooper involved in a fatal crash last month in Pointe Coupee Parish was driving more than 100 mph even though he was not responding to an emergency call, according to two law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation.
The crash claimed the life of a 64-year-old Lottie man and also injured the trooper, Christopher Kelley, who remains on medical leave. Kelley, who was hired in 2015, is assigned to the State Police's Alexandria-based Troop E and had been driving to New Orleans at the time of the crash to work a Mardi Gras detail.
Assistant District Attorney Tony Clayton told The Advocate that he plans to present the results of a "brutally honest" State Police investigation to a grand jury, which will be tasked with determining whether Kelley should face criminal charges. The prosecutor said he intends to send Kelley a target letter and to present the case to the panel within the next two weeks.
"I'm just going to give them the facts," Clayton said. "The State Police have left no stone unturned in this case. They've done all I asked them to do."
The crash happened before 11 a.m. on Feb. 22. Kelley had been driving a state-issued Chevrolet Tahoe eastbound on U.S. 190, east of La. 81, in Lottie.
Henry Baise had been driving a 2001 Chevrolet Silverado and pulled out in front of Kelley from a private drive, entering "the path of the trooper's vehicle," State Police said in a news release last month. The vehicles collided and ended up in the ditch on the westbound side of U.S. 190. Photographs of the crash showed significant damage to both vehicles.
Baise had been wearing a seat belt but was seriously injured in the crash. He was pronounced dead at Pointe Coupee General Hospital in New Roads.
Kelley also had been wearing a seat belt and was taken to Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge. He could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Clayton would not discuss the particulars of the crash. State Police also declined to comment, citing the pending investigation.
But two law enforcement officials familiar with the probe said investigators determined Kelley was driving faster than 100 mph at the point of impact. They said a State Police report, which has not been made public, cites speed as a factor in the crash.