Warrant: Impaired driver veered into West Monroe family’s lane prior to fatal crash

The crash claimed the lives of a 68-year-old man and two 12-year-old cousins.
Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 6:32 PM CDT
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WEST MONROE, La. (KNOE) - New evidence has led to the re-arrest of a Ouachita Parish man in connection with a deadly crash that claimed the lives of a 68-year-old man and two 12-year-old cousins.

As we previously reported, the crash happened on June 10, 2022, just before 11:40 p.m. on LA Hwy 34 (Jonesboro Road) around the Bawcomville area.

Louisiana State Police said Joshua Kelley, 35, and his young son were in a Ford F-150 truck heading south while a Mitsubishi Endeavor, driven by George Barmore, 68, approached from the opposite direction. The two vehicles collided in Kelley’s lane, killing Barmore and his two 12-year-old passengers, Emory Barmore and Layla-Grace Barmore.

According to newly filed court documents, when first responders arrived on the scene, they found Kelley’s truck on fire in the roadway and the Barmore family deceased. Kelley, however, was gone. He was able to walk away from the crash with his young son in tow.

It wasn’t very long before Kelley was brought back to the scene by a third party. Here, he confessed to law enforcement that he was the driver of the truck, they said. A breath sample would later indicate that Kelley had been drinking prior to the crash. The test returned a blood alcohol level of .168%, which is over twice the legal limit, and he was arrested on charges of vehicular homicide (3 counts) and hit-and-run driving. His son was taken to the hospital and would be treated for serious, but non-life-threatening injuries in ICU.

A state trooper analyzed tire marks and fluid trails at the scene. The preliminary investigation revealed evidence that Barmore swerved into Kelley’s lane right before the crash. It was unclear why, at the time, and the duty judge ruled that there was no probable cause to hold Kelley on the homicide charges. Kelley was able to make bail on a single charge of hit-and-run driving.

However, state police continued to investigate the crash. In the coming days, state police would come across the key to finding out what happened that night: video footage from two cameras at different locations pointing toward the scene.

According to the warrant, a witness volunteered to give state police one of the videos. The other was found when a state trooper went back to the scene and spotted a camera at a nearby business.

A review of the video showed, the document states, that Kelley was not only impaired that night, he was also speeding, going approximately 25 mph over the 50 mph speed limit, according to police. State police say that as Kelley’s speeding truck approached, video showed it crossing the center line. George Barmore swerved into Kelley’s lane, taking evasive action to avoid Kelley’s truck as it first crossed over into his lane. Unfortunately, state police say Kelley tried to correct his mistake, swerving back into his original lane where Barmore had moved to avoid a crash.

In light of this new evidence, Kelley was re-arrested on July 5 for the three counts of vehicular homicide and a new charge of vehicular negligent injuring.

Bond is listed at $400,000.

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