Ex-astronaut set for trial in wreck that killed 2 girls

James Halsell, Jr. (Source: MGN)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - A former space shuttle commander is set for trial next month in Alabama on reckless murder charges in a wreck that killed two girls.

Court records show the trial of one-time NASA astronaut James Halsell Jr. is scheduled for Dec. 9.

The 63-year-old Halsell was arrested after a wreck killed 11-year-old Niomi Deona James and 13-year-old Jayla Latrick Parler in rural Tuscaloosa County in 2016.

Halsell has pleaded not guilty.

The girls’ father and a woman were with the sisters when the crash occurred. Documents show Halsell lives in Huntsville and told authorities he was driving to Louisiana to pick up his son when the wreck happened.

An indictment accuses Halsell of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Halsell flew five space shuttle missions before retiring from NASA.