Driver in 5 person fatal crash surrenders to authorities

CONROE- Brandon Ferguson, 22, of Magnolia turned himself in on Tuesday in accordance with a deadline set when the District Attorney’s Office secured six warrants against him. The charges, five counts of manslaughter and one count of aggravated assault, stemmed from a Jan. 10 motor vehicle collision that killed five people and critically injured one.

Ferguson was also critically injured, and authorities waited for his recovery before charging him.

He was arrested, booked into the Montgomery County Jail, and released on bail.

Scroll down to read details of the case and crash, or watch on-scene video.

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Warrants issued in crash that killed five

June 23, 2009

CONROE- A man accused of causing the deaths of five people and serious injury to a sixth will soon be in custody on six felony charges.

Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon and Warren Diepraam with the Vehicular Crimes Section of the DA’s Office announced on Monday that six felony warrants were filed against 22-year-old Brandon Ferguson of Magnolia, including five counts of manslaughter and one count of aggravated assault, which in this case is defined as recklessly causing bodily injury by using a motor vehicle as a deadly weapon. Both charges are second-degree felonies, punishable by two to 20 years in prison or two to 10 years probation and a fine of up to $10,000 per count.

Click the arrow to view on-scene video from January 10.

Five of the victims were in a mini-van that burst into flames after it was t-boned by Ferguson’s Chevy Cobalt on the morning of Jan. 10. The sixth victim was Ferguson’s passenger.

The deceased are identified as:

Kayla Pratorius, 18, of Magnolia
Curtis Edwards, 78 of Pinehurst
Donald Sexton, 60, of College Station,
Lloyd Edwards, 83, of Selena OK
Catherine Edwards, 83, of Selena OK

The three men died inside the van and two women were ejected and seriously injured. Catherine Edwards was pronounced dead on the scene, and 59-year-old Karla Sexton of College Station, was the van’s sole survivor.

Ferguson’s passenger, 18-year-old Kayla Pratorius of Magnolia, was pronounced dead on the scene and Ferguson was transported by air ambulance to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston in critical condition.

Ferguson is recovering and no longer hospitalized.

According to Ligon and Diepraam’s statement, investigators with the Texas Department of Public Safety determined Ferguson’s vehicle was traveling well over 100 miles per hour, at an estimated 117, based on reconstruction and information downloaded from the vehicle’s airbag control module.

When Karla Sexton, who was southbound on Partridge Circle, reached that road’s intersection with SH 249, Diepraam said “Ferguson was moving so fast that he would cover the distance of a football field in about two seconds,” and that because of Ferguson’s speed, Sexton could not see him approaching her vehicle.

Nearby resident, and Good Samaritan, Harold Hill heard the impact of the collision and looked out his window then ran over to the crash site to see if he could help, then things suddenly became even worse.

“The van had a small fire up under it, so I went and got my fire extinguisher and by the time I got over it was out, so I figured the fire was going to be over with,” Hill said, shortly after the horrific crash. “People were trying to get the other people out of the van, then all of a sudden the van just goes up and I emptied my fire extinguisher on it, but it was so hot and big it couldn’t touch it.”

Lee Romero with the DA’s Office said DPS investigators believe Ferguson was racing a motorcycle when the crash occurred, based on a witness statement. Their final report is still in the review process. The two agencies are working together on the investigation.

Ligon, who has made DWI enforcement a top priority of his administration, said in a written statement to the press, that the case was important in many ways.

“Our duty and responsibility to the public is to ensure that justice is done. Traffic crashes like this one have a tremendous personal impact on our community,” Ligon wrote. “This case represents the tragedy that car crashes cause, since five of the victims were leaving a birthday party when the crash occurred.”

“Car crashes can take the life of anybody anytime. Enforcement and prosecution of offenders who drive at these speeds may cause potential offenders to be more responsible when driving a vehicle in a manner that is capable of causing death and serious bodily injury.”

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