Former astronaut facing murder charges after fatal Alabama crash

A tragic crash in a remote area near Tuscaloosa County claimed the lives of two girls on June 6, and now a former astronaut is facing two charges of murder. The girls, who lived in Texas with their mother, were riding in a car with their father who was bringing them to stay with him in Brent for the summer.

They were just 20 minutes away from their destination on a dark road, just before 3 a.m., when state troopers say that 59-year-old James Halsell, Jr. rear-ended their vehicle. The girls, ages 11 and 13 weren’t wearing seat belts and were thrown from the car.

According to authorities, the former NASA astronaut, who went into space on five shuttle missions, exhibited multiple signs of being under the influence after the collision. They also say that they found an empty bottle of wine and empty sleeping pill package when they searched his motel room. They believe that speed may also have contributed to the crash.

Halsell told authorities that he was en route to visit his son in Louisiana. He claimed that he had no memory of the crash.

One of the girls who was killed had just finished 5th grade. Her older sister had just completed 6th grade. Brent’s mayor said that the city is collecting donations to help the family pay for their funerals and other expenses.

Regardless of what criminal charges an at-fault driver faces or is convicted of, when loved ones are lost in a car crash, surviving family members can seek compensation for expenses and other damages via a civil lawsuit. Alabama personal injury attorneys can provide compassionate legal guidance in these difficult times.

Source:, “2 San Antonio girls ID’d as victims in crash caused by ex-NASA astronaut James Halsell Jr.,” June 08, 2016