Former astronaut charged with murder in wreck that killed 2

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — A former astronaut is charged with murder after a wreck that killed two girls in Alabama.

State troopers say 59-year-old James Halsell Jr. of Huntsville was arrested after a crash that killed 11-year-old Niomi Deona James and 13-year-old Jayla Latrick Parler of Brent early Monday.

Troopers say a car driven by Halsell collided with a Ford Fiesta in which the girls were passengers. Both victims were ejected from the vehicle and died. Two others were injured.

Troopers say a preliminary investigation indicates alcohol and speed may have been factors.

An online biography by NASA says Halsell went to work in the aerospace industry in 2006 after a career that included five shuttle flights starting in July 1994.

Court records aren’t yet available to show whether Halsell has a lawyer.

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