Driver in fatal crash was intoxicated, had three prior DWI convictions
By Kyle Barnett - May 30, 2013
A LaPlace woman accused of killing three people, including a pregnant woman, in a crash on Airline Highway in Norco on Sunday morning had three prior DWI convictions and was in the process of having her probation revoked at the time of the accident.
Jennifer Englade, 40, is facing three counts of vehicular homicide, which can carry up to a 30-year jail sentence for each charge, and one count of feticide as well as a litany of other related charges.
Englade previously pled guilty to three DWIs, with the most recent offense coming in St. Charles Parish in 2012. Her first two convictions came only a few months apart in St. John Parish in March 1999 and in St. Charles Parish in June 1999.
A third DWI results in a mandatory felony charge and jail sentence if the conviction comes within a 10-year period.
St. Charles Parish District Attorney Joel Chaisson said Englade was not charged for felony DWI in the 2012 incident because too much time had elapsed between the first two DWIs and her most recent conviction.
“Cases that are over 10 years old cannot be used,” he said. “Because they were 12 years old, the ones in 1999 could not be used to enhance the 2012 case to anything beyond a first offense.”
Despite the 2012 conviction being considered a first offense, Chaisson said his office was in the process of revoking Englade’s probation when she was kicked out of a rehabilitation facility.
“When we saw she wasn’t going to do we what she needed to do we filed a rule to revoke on April 30 and that was set for June 18. This happened on Sunday. So there it is,” he said. If her probation would have been revoked the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles could have immediately suspensed her driver's license and the judge overseeing the case would have had the option to sentence her to up to six months in jail.
According to State Police, Englade was driving a 2006 Pontiac G6 northbound on US 61 when she crossed the raised median and entered the southbound lanes of travel. The Pontiac was struck on its right side by a 2001 Honda Civic driven by Romishe Mejia-Fequier, 23, of Harvey. Mejia-Fequier was killed in the collision along with her pregnant back seat passenger, Esther Centeno. Mejia-Fequier and Centeno were both wearing their seatbelts.
The front seat passenger in the Pontiac, 29-year-old Sulphur native Joshua Jones, was also killed. He was not wearing his seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle upon impact, according to the State Police.
Englade was injured in the accident and transported to the Interim LSU Public Hospital’s trauma center. A passenger in the Honda, Mejia Medena, 20, was wearing his seatbelt and sustained critical injuries. He was also transported to the LSU Interim Hospital trauma center.
Speed and impairment are suspected as factors of the crash. Blood was drawn from Englade and she was over the legal limit for alcohol. Impairment is not suspected for Mejia-Fequier, however, toxicology results are pending an autopsy.
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