Coach accused in deadly crash, Loren LeBeau, appears in court
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A high school basketball coach accused of killing a seven-year-old boy while driving drunk faced a judge for the first time. Loren LeBeau's arraignment was continued, but a judge gave him strict guidelines if he wants to remain a free man.
Fresno Police have tracked down the woman they were looking for and they say Loren LeBeau dropped her off right before the fatal crash. But the information she provided may be critical to the case.
LeBeau got a big break from a judge, who kept his bail at the original amount, allowing him to remain free for now. He was straight faced and serious as he listened to the conditions a judge gave him to stay out of jail.
Just hours after his appearance, Action News confirmed police have interviewed the 24-year-old woman they believe has valuable information about where LeBeau's was and how much he drank leading up to the crash.
Captain Andy Hall with the Fresno Police Department said, "We know that he was drinking up at Bass Lake with another party, a female adult, he had dropped her off just prior to the collision."
The woman's statement is important for investigators as they piece together details leading up to the collision that killed 7-year-old Donovan Maldonado.
Captain Hall told Action News, "We believe her information was very helpful to our case because she identified an exact timeline of when he was drinking and when his last drink occurred, that's important to determine his state of intoxication at the time of the collision."
In court, more than a dozen family members and friends showed up to support LeBeau in court, including his wife and mother of the couple's four children. They watched as the judge handed down strict and specific instructions LeBeau must follow while he's out of jail.
Lebeau had to give up his driver's license, and cannot drink. He will wear a special ankle monitor that detects alcohol to prove he's not drinking. LeBeau must also attend four alcohol counseling meetings a week.
Judge Gregory Fain agreed to leave his bail amount at the original setting of $246 thousand, instead of raising it to the prosecution's recommendation of more than $1 million.
ABC30 Legal Analyst Tony Capozzi says LeBeau's attorney was very proactive in taking steps to satisfy any concerns the judge may have prior to the hearing.
"I think the attorney did a very good job of preparing for this court appearance today," Capozzi said. "Obviously, he did very well, he's going home."
LeBeau's attorney says his client is also struggling with the pain of what the crash has caused for everyone involved.
Attorney Jeff Hammerschmidt said, "Regardless of fault, which we are looking into, it's devastating what he went through, and he feels horrible for the Maldonado family and his life will never be the same regardless of the outcome of the court case."
Members of the Maldonado family did not attend court. Donovan's father and sister are still in the hospital recovering from their injuries in the crash. A spokesperson says the family is healing physically and emotionally, and that is their priority.
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