The St. John Sheriff’s Office apparently gave a LaPlace woman accused of killing three people, including a pregnant woman, in an accident on Airline Highway in Norco control of the car after arresting the car’s original driver only hours earlier.
WDSU broke the story earlier this week that the Pontiac G6 Jennifer Englade, 40, used in the accident was originally driven by Rechelle Hotard, but was turned over to Englade after Hotard was arrested on a warrant. Hotard was arrested in the parking lot of a LaPlace daiquiri shop.
Only hours later Englade, who was found to be intoxicated at the time, crossed over a median on Airline Highway with the Pontiac and was struck on the right side by a 2001 Honda Civic driven by Romishe Mejia-Fequier, 23, of Harvey.
The front seat passenger in the Pontiac, 29-year-old Sulphur native Joshua Jones, was killed. According to the State Police he was not wearing his seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle upon impact.
Mejia-Fequier was also killed in the collision along with her pregnant back seat passenger, Esther Centeno.
Only Englade and Mejia Medena, 20, a passenger in the Honda, survived the accident. Medena was wearing his seatbelt and sustained critical injuries. He is currently hospitalized.
St. Charles Parish District Attorney Joel Chaisson said he is currently assisting Medena’s mother in getting a visa so she may travel from the Dominican Republic to be with her son.
“We’ve been working our best with Senator Landrieu’s office to get a visa so his mother can come visit him,” he said.
Chaisson said the actions by the St. John Sheriff's Office will not influence his prosecution.
“It doesn’t affect my prosecution of her one way or the other. My job is to prove impairment at the time that this collision occurred,” he said. “I intend to prosecute her on that basis.”
Englade 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.