Former Astronaut Charged with Murder after Driving Drunk

Two girls were killed in an accident that happened in Tuscaloosa.

Details about the Fatal Accident

WIAT News is reporting that a 59-year-old James Halsell Jr., a former astronaut, has been charged with murder after being involved in a wreck that killed two girls about 10 miles outside of Tuscaloosa.

According to Alabama State Troopers, Halsell was arrested after the accident that killed 11-year-old Niomi Deona James and 13-year-old Jayla Latrick Parler, of Brent, on Monday. According to troopers, a vehicle that was being driven by Halsell collided with a Ford Fiesta in which the girls were passengers.

Both of the victims were ejected from the vehicle during the accident, and neither of them were wearing seatbelts. James was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, and Parler was taken to the hospital where she later died from her injuries.

According to troopers, a preliminary investigation into the accident indicated that both alcohol and speed may have been factors in the accident.

Important Information about Driving Under the Influence

According to data from Mothers against Drunk Driving, there are thousands of wrongful deaths of people involved in drunk driving accidents every year in the state of Alabama:

  • In 2014, there were a total of 264 people killed in the state of Alabama in drunk driving accidents.
  • During the same year, drunk driving fatalities represented a total of 32 percent of all motor vehicle accident fatalities.
  • In 2014, Alabama passed an ignition interlock law for all convicted drunk drivers – including first-time offenders.
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