Hearing set for Dec. 2 for ex-astronaut charged In 2 Bibb County Traffic Deaths


Nov. 23, 2016 12:00 AM CST

Former space shuttle commander James Halsell Jr. who is charged in the traffic deaths of two Bibb County girls and also injuries to their father, Pernell James of Brent, and his friend, Shontel Cutts, is scheduled to enter a plea in the criminal cases during a hearing which is set for Dec. 2, 2016, in Tuscaloosa.

While Halsell can continue driving while awaiting trial, according to Friday afternoon ruling by Tuscaloosa County Circuit Judge Bradley Almond, there are specific restrictions on his driving.

The ruling states that the Halsell can’t consume any alcohol, illegal drugs or medication unless he has a prescription and also he must have a special locking device installed on his car’s ignition.  He must also undergo twice-weekly testing.

Halsell, who is free on bond, has fought to keep his driver’s license after being charged with murder and assault in the traffic deaths of 11-year-old Niomi James and 13-year-old Jayla Parler on US Hwy 82. The assault charges stemmed from injuries suffered by the Pernell James and Shontel Cutts.

While Halsell hasn’t entered a plea, his attorneys filed a document in a civil lawsuit casting blame on another driving.  Authorities said alcohol was a possible factor in the case, however, Halsell refused to be tested for the presence of alcohol or drugs following the crash.  This lead to a two-year-old suspension of his license.   Halsell appealed and a court postponed the license suspension.

There was a DUI ticket issued to Halsell in Los Angeles in 2014, and according to Court documents, he was on probation at the time of the June wreck.

Relatives of the children have filed suit over the crash. Halsell’s attorneys have filed a document in one of the suits stating that the driver of the girls car failed to yield which contributed to the wreck.

Previous articleAirbus to Perform Flyover at Iron Bowl
Next articleBibb County Extension Works To Build Future Leaders
David Daniel, 67, is a resident of Bibb County and lives in Centreville. In 1982 David, with the help of wife Karen, designed and built the first Cable TV system in Bibb County which served all municipalities in the county. In 11/03/2008, David co-authored a book on behalf of the Centreville Historic Preservation Commission called "Bibb County", Images of America, ISBN: 9780738567297. More than 109 families and individuals contributed to this community effort. Daniel enjoys spending time with his wife and grandchildren and he enjoys working with local history enthusiasts.