Double intoxication manslaughter sentencing trial underway

Published 8:51 am Wednesday, July 26, 2017

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


Testimony will continue on Wednesday in the sentencing trial for Travis Collins.

Tuesday was day one of an emotional trial as witnesses gave statements in the double intoxication manslaughter at the 128th District Court Of Orange County.

Collins was found competent to stand trail in April of this year and pleaded guilty on July 13 to driving while intoxicated leading to the death of Riley Portie, 52, and his wife Emily Portie, 50.

According to investigators, Collins is accused driving drunk on May 24, 2015 in the 1200 block of Park Street in Orange. Collins allegedly took off at a high rate of speed causing his vehicle to jump the railroad tracks, and go airborne landing on the Porties.

The couple was traveling west on Park Street near the intersection of 12th Street when they were struck by Collins pickup truck. Both were killed instantly at the scene.

In the hearing Collins opted to have a jury sentence him.

Video from a body cam worn by the officer who transported Collins to the hospital the night of the wreck provided audio of Collins crying and kicking the windows of the vehicle.

Collins began quietly crying in the court room as the videos played for the jury members.

Mary McKenna, former Orange City Council member, was walking her dog on the evening of the incident, as she had many times before when she witnessed the erratic driving of a Dodge truck. Upon seeing pictures of the vehicle on a radio website, she contacted the police to report what had happened to her on the same evening just prior to the wreck.

“I was very fearful for me,” McKenna said on the stand. “I heard an engine revving, blowing at me and it ran two stop signs. I tried to put a telephone pole between me and the truck.”

McKenna also said she saw the truck stop for an extended period of time in the middle of the intersection.

McKenna also said she did not know who was driving the truck, but did know it was driving faster than cars normally do in downtown Orange.

According to testimony on the lab results of Collins blood test for alcohol levels on the night of the incident, he had a blood alcohol level of 0.204, nearly 2.5 times above the legal limit.

Orange Police Department Lt. Eric Ellison was responsible for notifying the next of kin, Kazzie Portie, 18, just days before graduating from Little Cypress Mauriceville High School.

Ellison provided encouragement for Portie to attend his high school. Portie did attend the graduation, received his diploma and was greeted on the stage by Ellison.

Ellison was honored for his actions in May 2015 by the Orange City Council.

Kazzie, on the stand, said life has changed drastically for him.

“I had already applied to be a Chemical Engineer,” Kazzie said. “That shattered my plans, changed my whole world.”

Tears rolled down his face as he spoke of how graduation was a powerful moment for him as well as an emotional day.

‘They were the glue of the family,” Kazzie said of his parents. “Now we are drifting apart. We will not have closure from this trail. We want justice.”

Collins faces 2 to 20 years in prison on each charge for two counts of intoxication manslaughter.