FORT WORTH -- Hours before dawn on a highway southeast of downtown, a homeless man walked along a shoulder of the road as a former nurse's aide drove home after a night of drinking at a bar.
What happened next isn't clear. All Chante Jawan Mallard could remember, according to police reports, was that her gold Chevrolet Cavalier hit the man with such force that his head and shoulders shattered the windshield, his legs bent over the roof and his pants torn almost completely off his body.
Instead of stopping, police say, Mallard drove about a mile down the divided six-lane highway past some industrial businesses and a park -- all the while, the man lodged and bleeding in the jagged windshield.
She took the next exit, passing a gas station, turned left under the highway overpass and continued about a half mile to her small yellow house with black shutters in her working-class neighborhood.
When Mallard pulled into her garage, lowered the door and turned off the engine, she sat in the car and cried, repeatedly apologizing to the man who was moaning, she later told detectives.
"Chante kept going in and out of the garage telling the man she was sorry," the police report states. "She does not know how long it took the man to die; she quit going out into the garage."
It wasn't until the next day that Gregory Biggs, 37, a former bricklayer who had been living in a Fort Worth homeless shelter, was found dead, his body dumped in a park a few miles from Mallard's house.
Now, nearly two years later, Mallard prepares for trial on charges of murder and tampering with evidence. Jurors were selected Friday, and opening statements were to begin Monday. She faces life in prison if convicted.
Police say Mallard, who turned 27 on Sunday, told detectives she hit Biggs in the early morning hours of Oct. 26, 2001.
Biggs' body was found about 10 a.m. the next day in Cobb Park. Two of her friends, Clete Deneal Jackson and Herbert Tyrone Cleveland, have pleaded guilty to dumping the body to help Mallard, and as part of plea agreements will testify against her at the trial. Jackson received a 10-year sentence for tampering with evidence; Cleveland, nine years.
Police initially said Biggs lived for several days in Mallard's garage, slowly bleeding to death from his multiple fractures and cuts.
But Tarrant County Medical Examiner Nizam Peerwani later said Biggs, whose left leg was nearly amputated, probably lived only a few hours after he was hit. Biggs could have survived if he had received medical attention, Peerwani has said.
Police, prosecutors, defense attorneys and others involved in the case have not commented about it publicly since state District Judge James R. Wilson imposed a gag order after Mallard was indicted in April 2002.
At a June 10 court hearing in which the judge denied a defense motion to move the trial out of Fort Worth, Mallard's attorney, Reagan Wynn, said some media coverage of the case -- including a report that Mallard had sex with her boyfriend after arriving home and that she left Biggs in the garage for days -- were inaccurate.
When Biggs' body was found in the park, authorities had no leads until four months later, when a tipster said Mallard talked about the incident at a party.
The woman said they were discussing who would be the designated driver because some in the group had been drinking, and that Mallard said she couldn't use her car, police said. The woman recalled that Mallard giggled when she said "I hit this white man," according to the police report.
The woman said Mallard told her she "was messed up" on ecstasy pills and drunk, and that she had sex with her boyfriend after driving home. Mallard and her boyfriend later went into the garage to see if the man was dead, but he was alive and even asked for help, the woman told police.
The day after interviewing the tipster in February 2002, detectives went to Mallard's house with a search warrant, and they said she gave a confession.
St-Jerome, Que. — A 59-year-old man was charged with drunk driving causing death after an 18-year-old man was rammed by a speeding car and embedded in the windshield for nearly an hour.
Gilles Francoeur, of Ste-Adele, Que., faces a total of eight charges after the death early Saturday of Nicholas Fortin.
Mr. Francoeur was also charged Monday with refusing to provide aid after the car sped off following the fatal collision. He also faces two counts of drunk driving causing injury after two other people were struck and seriously hurt. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Mr. Francoeur will remain behind bars pending his next court appearance, scheduled for Aug. 28.
The incident happened around 3 a.m. Saturday when a car hurtled into a group of about 50 people leaving a bar near Ste-Adele, about 70 kilometres north of Montreal.
As the car sped away, a woman noticed one of her male friend's shoes on the road but saw he was missing. The missing man had crashed headfirst through the windshield beside the driver, said police.
Some people chased the fleeing car but lost it. It was found again about an hour later and forced to the side of the road, with the victim still lodged in the windshield.
One of the victims suffered injuries to his arm and leg and will be confined to a wheelchair until December.
The incident is a tragedy for everyone, Mr. Francoeur's lawyer Sylvain Berube said Monday.
"It's a tragic event for the victim and the victim's family, and for my client who today has no record," he told LCN, the French-language television channel.