After a brief court appearance, a 25-year-old Bronson man charged in the intoxication manslaughter death of Amber Roussel was taken back into police custody Monday, Jan. 28, for failing a court-ordered drug screen.
Derek Wesley McBride’s bonds issued by Judge John Stevens in July — $100,000 for intoxication manslaughter and $50,000 for intoxication assault — were revoked Monday when McBride tested positive for amphetamines.
“I felt like what I wanted to do was order him to do a drug test as a condition of bond that I did that day, kind of a pop quiz,” said Judge John Stevens, who presides over the case. “And when he came back with amphetamines ... ”
McBride was indicted by a grand jury in November 2012 for the July 30, 2012, collision that killed Amber Roussel, 31, and injured her husband, Ryan Roussel, 36, both of Louisiana.
The scene of the accident was littered with debris and wrecked vehicles, effectively shutting down Interstate 10 in both directions on the Beaumont side of the Neches River Bridge after McBride allegedly passed another vehicle illegally on the right-hand shoulder. According to witnesses on the scene, McBride’s white pickup truck was clipped by an unknown vehicle as he attempted to pass it. Witnesses said McBride’s truck crossed all three lanes of traffic, striking the barrier wall and eventually sending his truck’s brush guard careening into oncoming traffic where it met the Roussels’ vehicle.
Amber Roussel was pronounced dead at the scene.
Appearing in court, McBride was chastised by Judge John Stevens, who was visibly angered that McBride wasn’t in possession of an interlock system in his vehicle, a device that tests for alcohol on the driver’s breath. Along with a clean urinalysis, the interlock system was a condition of McBride’s bond.
Before McBride was taken into custody, Roussel’s mother, Melba Braud, exited the courtroom visibly shaken and emotional.
“I don’t know how he sleeps at night,” Braud said. “This whole thing is, he gets to go home with his children. My daughter doesn’t get that choice. He took that away from her by drinking and driving.”
McBride’s attorney, Joe Glenn Kahla, said he and his client are in talks with the district attorney’s office to avoid a trial on the charges of intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault — now set for March 4, 2013 — in exchange for a plea of guilty.
“In between now and then we’ll be visiting with the DA’s office to get it resolved,” Kahla said. “And if we can’t, we’ll go to trial on the fourth.”
Roussel’s mother was not happy about the prospects of a deal.
“I would like to see the DA and judge basically make sure that he serves time and they don’t spank him on the hand anymore,” Braud said.
Whatever the outcome of a possible deal before the March 4 trial, Braud said she wants justice done.
“I feel sorry for his family,” she said in between tears. “They’re gonna have to go through horrible times. But ya know, (Amber’s) husband is without his wife. Their children are without their mother. And I’m without my daughter.”
Clay Thorp can be reached at (409) 832-1400, ext. 225, or by e-mail at clay [at] theexaminer [dot] com.