Court document: intoxication manslaughter suspect speeding when in fatal crash

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, June 4, 2024

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LUMBERTON — Court documents show an intoxication manslaughter suspect was traveling 71 mph just seconds before he struck a Ford Escape driven by Sheila Ingham, killing her more than a week ago.

Chase Alan Keller, 36, was arrested Friday on an intoxication manslaughter warrant issued by Hardin County Justice of the Peace Melissa Minton.

Bond was set at $250,000, and Kellar was released the same day, authorities said.

Sheila Faye Ingham

Ingham, 69, of Silsbee lived a majority of her life in Vidor and worked in Greater Port Arthur. She was a well-known esthetician.

Lumberton Police Chief Danny Sullins said preliminary tests show Kellar’s blood alcohol content was 0.321 percent, which is more than 4 times the legal limit in Texas.

The fatal crash occurred at approximately 10 p.m. May 24 on Highway 69 at West Chance in Lumberton. Ingham, who was driving a Ford Escape, was traveling home from the Memorial High School graduation and was stopped for a red light when she was struck from behind.

Kellar and Ingham were the only occupants of their respective vehicles.

Ingham was taken to CHRISTUS Southeast Texas St. Elizabeth in Beaumont and was pronounced dead on arrival.

Kellar was also brought to a hospital, where he was treated and later released.

Dash cam video recovered from a witness at the scene reportedly showed Kellar speeding and weaving back and forth across the northbound lanes and into the center turn lane.

The video also shows Kellar applied the brake approximately one second before impact, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Officers at the scene smelled a strong odor of alcohol on Kellar, and there were reportedly empty and open alcoholic beverage containers in the vehicle, police said. He allegedly told police he had been to a bar in Beaumont drinking earlier.

On May 29, a search warrant was obtained to search Kellar’s vehicle. A Texas Department of Public Safety trooper downloaded the motor vehicle data event recorder, which showed Kellar was traveling 71 mph five seconds before the crash in a 45 mph zone.

The report also shows he was traveling at 63 mph in a 45 mph zone 0.1 seconds before impact.

The data showed the speedometer was stuck on 65 mph and the RPM gauge was stuck at approximately 2,500 rpm.

According to the conditions of Kellar’s bond, he must abstain from the use of alcoholic beverages, narcotic drugs, marijuana or any other controlled substances and he is not to go to places where alcoholic beverages are served.

He is to submit to drug testing, not possess/consume any controlled substances without a lawful prescription and not operate a motor vehicle unless it is equipped with a camera-equipped ignition interlock device.

Sullins said Kellar has a criminal history, including arrests for driving while intoxicated and boating while intoxicated.