Driver Pleads Guilty In Halsted's Death
An Illinois man has pleaded guilty to killing Betty Blowtorch lead singer/bassist Bianca Halsted and seriously injuring another driver by driving while drunk. Brian McAllister, 34, pleaded guilty lastAn Illinois man has pleaded guilty to killing Betty Blowtorch lead singer/bassist Bianca Halsted and seriously injuring another driver by driving while drunk. Brian McAllister, 34, pleaded guilty last week to vehicular homicide of Halsted, a friend of McAllister's and a passenger in his car when he crashed at about 5 a.m. last Dec. 15 on Interstate 10 in Gretna, La.
McAllister also pleaded guilty to vehicular negligent injury of Robert Fenkel, 50, of Colorado Springs, Colo., who still uses a wheelchair, Jefferson Parish prosecutor Martin Belanger said. McAllister, who entered the pleas last Thursday, could get up to 20 years for Halsted's death and five for Fenkel's injury, Belanger said. Judge Robert Burns scheduled sentencing for Dec. 13.
Belanger said McAllister, of Burbank, Ill., was driving about 100 mph when he sideswiped another car while changing lanes, skidded across the median and hit Fenkel's car, then hit a pole, cutting his Corvette in two.
Halsted was riding with McAllister following a show her band had played at a New Orleans club that night. McAllister's blood alcohol content was measured at .12 at East Jefferson General Hospital after the accident, Belanger said. McAllister suffered only minor injuries.
Betty Blowtorch, formed in 1998, was in the midst of a tour at the time of the accident. Its debut album, "Are You Man Enough," was released on Foodchain Records in May 2001. The group also appeared in last year's film "Bubble Boy."
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