Judge orders new trial for man convicted of driving drunk in I-10 crash that killed 5


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BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — A state judge has ordered a new trial for a St. Landry Parish man convicted last year of driving drunk in a horrific 2011 interstate crash in Baton Rouge that killed 5 Ascension Parish residents.

Judge Chip Moore granted 32-year-old David Leger, of Palmetto, a new trial Friday because a bench conference at which the defense objected to the proposed jury instructions was not recorded.

East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore tells The Advocate (http://bit.ly/1BbOMaN ) his office will ask a state appeals court to review and reverse Moore's decision.

Leger's co-defendant, Kelsye Hall, of Baton Rouge, was convicted by state District Judge Trudy White on five counts of negligent homicide in 2013 and sentenced to two years in prison. Hall, who testified at Leger's jury trial but not her own judge trial, was released in July. She remains on probation.

Leger and Hall, according to authorities and witnesses, were engaged in a reckless and high-speed game of "cat and mouse" or road rage on Interstate 10 West on March 13, 2011, when Leger's pickup spun out of control, crossed the grassy median and collided head-on with a car driven by Effie Fontenot on I-10 east between the Highland Road exit and the Bluff Road overpass near the Ascension Parish line.

Co-workers Fontenot, 29, and Kimberly Stagg, 19, both of Prairieville, and Fontenot's three sons, Austin Fontenot, 3, Hunter Johnson, 7, and Keagan Fontenot, 11, were killed in the crash.

State Police said Leger was intoxicated at the time. Hall was not impaired.

Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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