5 Kids Drowned – Dad Charged
Posted by shadmia on April 20, 2009
Chanton Jenkins, 32, from Huston had been drinking. He was talking on his cell phone while driving a car with six kids and one other adult. He was driving in heavy, pouring rain. He lost control of the car and veered off the road. The car went down an embankment and ended up in over 9 feet of water.
The Result – Five dead kids, one of whom is still missing. Chanton Jenkins, his adult brother and 10-year-old Jada Barnes managed to scramble out of the 2000 Lincoln LS and make it to dry land. He has been charged with with four counts of intoxication manslaughter and, if convicted on all counts, could spend the next 80 years behind bars.
It took 2-1/2 hours to find the car in the ditch, which had filled with 9-1/2 feet of fast-moving water. Police said the vehicle was swept 100 feet from the spot where it left the road.
Dead are: 4-year-old Devin Jenkins, 7-year-old Malik Barlow and 11-year-old Dreyton Thompson – all found in the submerged car. The body of 1-year-old Karrington Jenkins was found a half mile from the crash. The body of 4-year-old Hallie Jenkins has not yet been located.
The accident occurred in the 2200 block of Greens Road on the evening of Saturday April 18, 2009. Jenkins was traveling eastbound in the rain when he received a call from his girlfriend, Tracey Easley, the mother of Karrington and Hallie. He was on the way to pick her up.
“It was a freak accident,” she said. “We were talking on the phone and he was like ‘dang,’ and I assumed he dropped the phone.”
Easley said that when she lost contact with Jenkins Saturday evening she felt a pang of fear and rushed to the area where she thought he had been driving. Police officers at the bayou held her back from the scene. “I knew,” she said, wiping her eyes.
Easley described Karrington as “the boss of the family. She was the baby in the family and she ran everything.
Hallie was the princess. She was the little diva,” Easley said. “She was prissy and she always walked on her tiptoes.”
Devin was a little pistol who liked to challenge everything he was told, Easley said.
Brothers Malik and Dreyton played football and basketball and participated on a step team that their 24-year-old uncle Travis Campbell helped organize.
“If you knew them, you would have just fallen in love with them,” said Malik’s godmother Tywanna Harris.
The two were inseparable.
“If Dreyton had a chance to get out of that car, I bet he thought, not without my brother. That was just his mentality,” said the boys’ aunt, Sonya Diamond.
Officials said Chanton Jenkins failed a field sobriety test at the scene but they did not release the results of a blood test.
Jenkins has an extensive criminal history dating back to 1994. He has a number of felony convictions related to illegal possession of firearms, unauthorized absence from a community correctional facility and convictions for the manufacturing, delivering and possession of a controlled substance. He was recently released from jail.