Trial for man accused in drowning deaths delayed

April 26, 2010 8:31:27 AM PDT
The trial was set to begin today for a father accused in the drowning deaths of five children, but has now been delayed. Prosecutors say Chanton Jenkins was drunk last year when he drove his car into a watery ditch with eight people inside.We've learned that both prosecutors and defense attorneys were ready to give their opening statements to jurors this morning, but the judge is currently involved in jury selection for a different trial.

When the trial does get underway, jurors in Jenkins' trial will decide on intoxication manslaughter charges against him. It was around a year ago that prosecutors say Jenkins drove drunk and lost control of his vehicle, driving into a rain-swelled ditch on on Greens Road in northwest Houston.

Police say Jenkins was high on drugs and talking on a cell phone at the time. That crash killed five young children, including three of his own who were in his vehicle. The kids range from one years old to eleven years old.

None of them were said to be restrained in car seats or wearing seatbelts. There was one child passenger who did survive -- Jenkins's daughter, 10-year-old Jada Barnes, who was placed in foster care last year shortly after the accident.

All of the children riding in the car had been at a sleepover the night before and were on their way to pick up Jenkin's girlfriend from her job at the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center in Humble.

Jenkins is charged with five counts of intoxication manslaughter and could face 100 years in prison if convicted.