Springhill man found guilty of vehicular homicide in head-on DUI crash

Local News

WEBSTER PARISH, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A Springhill man is facing up to 20 years in prison after his conviction Thursday in the death of a Plain Dealing woman in a crash he caused while driving under the influence.

According to the Webster Parish District Attorney’s Office, 51-year-old Brynton Kelli Simmons was found guilty Thursday of vehicular homicide in the death of 46-year-old Kelly Birdwell.

Birdwell was killed in a head-on collision on October 28, 2016 when Simmons struck her vehicle head-on while driving the wrong way at high speed on LA Highway 157. Simmons was arrested two months later following an investigation and toxicology testing and charged with vehicular homicide, DWI, speeding, and improper lane usage.

The DA’s office says Birdwell, a single mother of two and a long-time special education teacher in Webster Parish, was tragically killed in a collision caused by Simmons’ choice to drive while under the influence.

“The law is meant to establish boundaries for members of society. Whenever someone crosses those boundaries, they must be held responsible for the choices they make, especially when those choices result in an innocent person being killed,” Assistant District Attorney Jimbo Yocom said in a statement released Thursday afternoon.

“Mr. Simmons crossed the line by choosing to drive while under the influence of alcohol and controlled dangerous substances. Tragically he also crossed the line into Kelly Birdwell’s lane causing her beautiful life to be ended prematurely.”

Following the verdict, District Attorney Schuyler Marvin said he is proud of his assistants who worked together with the Louisiana State Police.

“I am proud of my Assistant District Attorneys Hugo Holland, Jimbo Yocom and Stuart McMahen who worked together with the Louisiana State Police to make it possible for a jury to render today’s verdict of guilty,” Marvin said.

Simmons will remain in the custody of the sheriff’s office until his sentencing on March 30. He faces five to 20 years in prison.

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