BEAUMONT - KFDM is saddened to report the death of our colleague, our friend, Bill Leger.
Bill was a member of our KFDM family as an anchorman and reporter for about 20 years, and his work on television and his community service touched many families across Southeast Texas during that time.
Bill died in a traffic accident in Louisiana early Saturday morning. According to Louisiana State Police, Bill was driving south on Louisiana 93 north of Scott, Louisiana, at about 1 a.m. Saturday, when his vehicle failed to negotiate a curve. His vehicle ran off the road to the right and overcorrected, causing the vehicle to overturn and come to rest in the middle of the road in the northbound lane of Louisiana 93. Another vehicle, a truck, was traveling north on Louisiana 93 and struck Bill's vehicle. According to updated information from Louisiana State Police, troopers arrested the other driver, Clint Melancon, 52, of Carencro, for DWI after it was determined his blood alcohol level was over the legal limit. Melancon was booked into the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center for DWI 1st offense. The crash remains under investigation.
Bill was a reporter and anchor at KFDM News for about two decades. He reported on air and live from the field, telling Southeast Texans about major events including hurricanes and trials. Bill did a number of investigative reports as well, and won many awards for his stories. His popular Restaurant Report aired every Friday.
We and many in the community remember Bill for much more than his television work. Bill was a caring, compassionate person who enjoyed helping people, touching their lives with his anchoring and reporting, and having a positive influence on the region. He did so through his volunteer work with many organizations, for which he gave countless hours of service, as well as his involvement with telethons including the MDA and Children's Miracle Network.
We grieve for Bill's wife, Patricia (Tecoo), his beautiful daughters, Tatum and Tori, his parents Stanley and Kathryn, his aunt Rita, and many other relatives and friends.
Bill Leger was 48.
Funeral services are pending.
Please keep Bill's family in your thoughts and prayers.
We are posting this biography Bill wrote for our webpage:
My wife and I are both from the same small town, Kinder, Louisiana. I graduated from LSU in Baton Rouge in 1986 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. My first broadcasting job was in radio when I was 12 years old. I continued to work in radio throughout high school and college.
I like working in Southeast Texas because it feels like home. It's a big enough metropolitan area that is has a lot to offer but still small enough to know your neighbors. We love that it's so close to the beach and take advantage of that every chance we get. Both of my daughters were born in Beaumont, and my wife Tecoo and I have been here since I started working at KFDM 18 years ago.
My aunt, Rita Leger has lived in this area for 40 years and for the past 10 years she has lived right next door to us. We took the fence down in the backyard between our houses so we have a little compound. My daughters love going back and forth between the houses.
When we're not working we enjoy spending time at Crystal Beach. It's our favorite home away from home. My girls love it.
When we visit family in Kinder, we usually drop by Fred's in Mamou to watch my uncle's Cajun band perform. My parents, Stanley and Kathryn, love the fact that our newscast now streams live on the internet because it means they can watch it from their home in Kinder.
If I mispronounce something, I'll usually get a text from them right then during the newscast. I thought I would enjoy the fact that they now text, but actually not so much. :)
We were asked to list some of our most memorable stories.
1. Hurricane Rita:
The stories that are most memorable to me include those we covered during Hurricanes Rita and Ike. Several of us remained at the tv station after the evacuation for Rita, and it was surreal driving into my empty subdivision to clean out my refrigerator and secure the house. When the weather deteriorated we moved to the Entergy building. There were hundreds of first responders. There was media from all over the world. When the windows downstairs began to break from the wind, it was clear Rita had arrived. Greg Bostwick did interviews with Shepard Smith of Fox News during the storm. It was an interesting experience to say the least.
2. Hurricane Ike:
We had some experience covering Ike because of what we learned during Rita 2 years earlier. However, we spent more time gathering news during the storm than we had done with Rita. Several of us moved into the tv station. We slept on air mattresses in a number of offices. About 1am Kelli and I and her husband Bob Phillips along with our photographer David Moore decided to get some video of the hurricane making landfall. We made it all the way to the Port Arthur seawall by Rose Hill. It was very dark and trees and signs littered the roads. We shined our headlights on the seawall and saw the waves of water coming over the top. We decided going there was unsafe and not very smart. We quickly left and made it back safely. Seeing the devastation across the area the next day when the sun came up was heartbreaking. A few days later the police allowed us to go to Crystal Beach. The peninsula was deserted except for a few property owners who had ridden out the storm. Vehicles, appliances, golf cars and personal property were strewn everywhere. It was very sad. I'm amazed at how quickly the place recovered. It's definitely the determination of the people who love Crystal Beach that made it happen. We spend as much time there as possible. I will never forget what wind and water can do.
3. On the road with Tracy Byrd:
In the 1990's we had the chance to go on the road as Tracy Byrd toured the country. We got to spend several days with Tracy traveling to shows in Nevada and California. He performed at UCLA and there was a great turnout of Country music fans. Tracy said he never knew he had fans on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, but he did. He was doing a magazine shoot and people were waiting in line to take a picture with him. It was an interesting experience to say the least.
4. Salon Secrets:
We did a series of reports on the health threats unsanitary nail salons pose to the public. Betty Davis of Beaumont who worked in the industry for years agreed to go undercover for us to expose these dangers. Betty was later invited to speak before a legislative committee about these risks, and they had a chance to see our reports. In the end, the legislature enacted a new regulation that gives the state the authority to immediately shut down any salon that poses a serious health threat to the public.UPDATE:
News release from Louisiana State Police -
Investigation Continues in Early Morning Fatal Crash
LAFAYETTE PARISH- Troopers are continuing their investigation into the LA Highway 93 crash which claimed the life of William Leger. Troopers determined that two separate crashes occurred at the scene. The first crash occurred when Leger’s vehicle ran off the road, overturned then came to rest in the middle of the road. The second crash occurred when Melancon’s vehicle struck Leger’s vehicle.
Troopers arrested Melancon for DWI after it was determined his blood alcohol level was over the legal limit. Melancon was booked into the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center for DWI 1st offense.
This crash remains under investigation.
William “Bill” Leger originally from Kinder worked for several years in the Acadiana area in television and radio broadcasting. For the past two decades, Leger has been working in television in the Beaumont area. He is survived by his wife, two daughters, his parents and other relatives.
Beaumont Man Dies in Early Morning Crash
LAFAYETTE PARISH- This morning, Troopers with Louisiana State Police Troop I investigated a fatal crash on LA Highway 93 near Gateau Road which claimed the life of a Beaumont man.
According to investigating Troopers, at 1:00 a.m., 48-year-old William Leger of Beaumont was driving a 2012 Jeep south on LA Highway 93. Leger was entering a curve when, for reasons still under investigation, his vehicle traveled off the right side of the roadway. Leger overcorrected to the left which caused his vehicle to roll-over. Leger’s vehicle came to rest in the northbound lane of LA Highway 93. A short time later 52-year-old Clint Melancon of Carencro, was driving a 1998 Ford north on LA Highway 93 and struck Leger’s vehicle.
Leger sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead by the Lafayette Parish Coroner. Troopers are still working to determine if Leger sustained his injuries prior to, or after, his vehicle was hit by Melancon’s vehicle. Troopers are also trying to determine if Leger was wearing a seat belt when the crash occurred. Melancon, who was restrained, sustained minor injuries and was transported to a local hospital.
It is unknown if impairment was a factor in this crash; however, routine toxicology samples have been obtained and will be submitted to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for analysis.
This crash remains under investigation.
While it is unknown if impairment was a factor in this crash, Troopers remind drivers that impaired driving continues to be a major problem throughout Louisiana. Troopers will work closely with other law enforcement agencies this holiday season to locate and remove impaired drivers from the roadway. Have a plan and designate a driver before you decide to drink.