A LaPlace woman, who police say was speeding and nearly twice over the legal alcohol limit when she caused a wreck in St. Charles that killed three people, has been found unfit to stand trial by St. Charles Parish District Court Judge Emile St. Pierre.
St. Pierre made his ruling last week after hearing testimony from a forensic psychiatrist and forensic psychologist who examined 40-year-old Jennifer Englade. Both found her incompetent to assist her counsel and proceed to trial.
Englade was referred to the Eastern Louisiana Mental Health System and will undergo treatment. She will return to court in November for a competency hearing.
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 because one of the women killed in the car accident was pregnant. She also faces a litany of other charges.
According to Louisiana State Police, Englade was driving a 2006 Pontiac G6 northbound on Airline Highway at 85 miles per hour on May 26 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 seat belts.
The front seat passenger in the Pontiac, 29-year-old Sulphur native Joshua Jones, was also killed. He was not wearing his seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle upon impact, according to the State Police.
Englade was injured in the accident and transported to the hospital. A passenger in the Honda, Mejia Medena, 20, was wearing his seat belt but sustained several facial fractures and injuries to both his small intestine and abdomen. He was also transported to the LSU Interim Hospital trauma center.
A state trooper on the scene of the accident said he saw numerous broken Bud Light bottles in Englade’s vehicle. She also smelled strongly of alcohol, the trooper said.
After the crash, blood was drawn from Englade and she had a blood alcohol content of .15, nearly double the legal limit of .08. Cocaine and amphetamine were also in her system at the time of the crash, police say.
State Police also determined that Englade was traveling 85 miles per hour before the crash in a 55-mile-per-hour zone.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.”