A Baton Rouge man who pleaded guilty in June to alcohol-related vehicular homicide charges in a fiery Interstate 10 crash that killed five members of a Georgia family in 2009 was sentenced Wednesday to 20 years in prison.
State District Judge Trudy White told Dwayne Leggett, 32, that the first seven years of his prison term must be served without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.
Leggett was immediately taken into custody to begin serving his sentence.
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III called the judge’s sentence “fair and appropriate.’’
“Judge Trudy White thoroughly considered the facts of this case, the tragic loss of life and its impact on the families of the victims and gave due consideration to the defendant’s submissions,’’ he said.
Leggett’s attorney, Fred Kroenke, said Leggett — who became an ordained minister after the accident — apologized for the pain and suffering he caused.
“We worked very hard on the case and worked very hard with him because he did not want to plead to a lesser charge,’’ Kroenke said.
State troopers have said Leggett was intoxicated when his westbound 2005 Ford pickup slammed into the rear of a 1994 pickup near the Siegen Lane overpass at 2 a.m. on Oct. 2, 2009.
The older pickup, which was stopped because of road construction, burst into flames upon impact, inflicting third-degree burns on all five members of an Ashburn, Ga., family inside the cab.
Alondra Brionca, 2, died at the scene. Maria Barrillos, 54; her daughters, Sonia Gomez Brionca, 27, and Jacqueline Gomez, 35; and son, Rito Gomez, 22, died later from their injuries.
Sonia Gomez Brionca was the toddler’s mother.
Leggett’s blood-alcohol content was 0.18 percent after the crash, prosecutor Sonia Washington told White earlier this year.
In Louisiana, a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher is considered presumptive evidence of intoxication.
Vehicular homicide with a blood-alcohol content of at least 0.15 percent carries a prison term of 5 to 30 years.
Two days before the fatal crash, Leggett was released from a pretrial diversion program he began after a first-offense DWI arrest on April 17, 2009, in West Baton Rouge Parish.