The attorneys for a St. Landry Parish man and a Baton Rouge woman blamed each other’s clients Monday for an alleged road rage-related Interstate 10 crash near Highland Road that killed five people in March.
David Ryan Leger, 29, of Palmetto, is charged with five counts of vehicular homicide.
Kelsye Jacque Hall, 22, faces five counts of negligent homicide.
Leger appeared Monday before state District Judge Trudy White and pleaded innocent.
Hall will plead innocent Wednesday, her attorney said.
Leger’s attorney, Tommy Damico, said outside the courtroom their accident reconstruction analysis indicates Hall caused the accident.
“We’re contesting that my client was engaged in any type of road rage with her,’’ Damico said. “My client was just trying to get away from her.’’
Hall’s attorney, Alfred Williams, countered in a separate interview an “impaired’’ Leger is to blame.
“Ms. Hall was at no fault,’’ Williams said, noting they have their own accident reconstruction expert.
“If anything Ms. Hall was the victim of road rage,’’ he said.
An East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury indicted Leger and Hall last month.
The March 13 crash killed Kimberly Stagg, 19, and Effie Fontenot, 29, both of Prairieville, and Fontenot’s three young sons: Austin Fontenot, 3; Hunter Johnson, 7; and Keagan Fontenot, 11.
State Police Lt. Doug Cain has said Hall and Leger were involved in some sort of encounter while driving westbound on the interstate that led to Hall intentionally preventing Leger from passing her vehicle.
At one point, Cain said, Hall was driving on the center line to keep Leger from passing on either side.
When Leger drove onto the right shoulder of the interstate in an attempt to pass Hall, she moved into the right lane as Leger was merging back onto the road, and the rear of his pickup clipped the front of Hall’s vehicle, Cain stated.
Leger’s truck spun out of control, crossed the median and collided head-on with Fontenot’s car. The car burst into flames. All five people inside the car were killed.
Leger’s blood-alcohol content was 0.10 percent, an arrest warrant said. In Louisiana, a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent is considered presumptive evidence of drunken driving. For those under 21, a reading of 0.02 percent is presumptive evidence of drunken driving.
Damico said Monday he does not believe alcohol was a “significant factor’’ in the accident.
Leger and Hall are free on bail.
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III has said Leger faces five to 30 years in prison on each count of vehicular homicide if convicted, while Hall faces two to five years on each negligent homicide count if convicted.