Emotional first day of sentencing testimony ends in Orange County DWI trial of man who killed couple

Travis Collins, 30, pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated and killing Riley Portie, 52, and his wife Emily Portie, 50, just days before their son was to graduate from high school and is facing up to 20 years in prison on each charge.

ORANGE - The first day of testimony in the sentencing hearing for a man who pleaded guilty to two counts of intoxication manslaughter wrapped up Tuesday evening at the Orange County Court House.

Travis Collins, 30, pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated and killing Riley Portie, 52, and his wife Emily Portie, 50, just days before their son was to graduate from high school.

Police say on May 24, 2015, Collins was drunk and speeding on Park Avenue in Orange when his truck went airborne and landed on the couple’s motorcycle.

The testimony was very emotional as the Portie’s two sons talked about how their parents loss has forever changed their lives.

The first son to speak was Blake Henning who told the jury his parents were about to retire and were very hard workers.

He also directly addressed Collins saying he is upset that Collins never approached his family to apologize for his parent’s death.

“I’m never going to see them again, what I wouldn’t give to call them or visit them,” said Henning.

Henning also pointed out Collins made a mistake when he went into the car after he was drinking.

"Whenever you decide to go and drink and drive you are walking around with a loaded gun and you take that chance to unload the gun on anybody," said Henning. 

Kazzie Portie took the stand next saying that he felt shattered when he found out the news right before his graduation.

Portie said his family had really helped him during the tragedy and thanked former Orange Police Lt. Eric Ellison who walked him across the stage at his graduation.

“It’s been a struggle but it’s my family that’s helped me through it and my friends and Mr. Ellison,” said Portie. “My graduation was very powerful I knew everybody stood up I couldn’t bring myself to look out into the crowd.”

Family members of both Collins and the victims cried as body camera footage from the night of the accident was shown in court.

Collins can be heard in the video telling nurses in the hospital he was drinking gin the night of the accident.

In the video, from the body cam of Officer Jana Goins, a woman can be seen holding Collins and crying at the scene of the accident.

As Officer Goins tells Collins to calm down she tries to get him into the police car where he can then be heard banging on the sides of the car and yelling.

During testimony Officer Goins said that Collins mentioned he had drank three 40 oz beers as well as gin.

Goins also testified that at the hospital Collins seemed disoriented and asked what was going on.

When Goins told him he had killed two people Collins replied that he didn’t kill anybody.

She explained when she first put Collins in the police car he kept asking if a man was okay but was never specific. She said for the rest of the night he was in denial about the incident.

When the body camera video was shown to the jury Collins reacted to the video by crying and wiping his eyes with tissues in court.

Another witness who is a friend of Collins testified earlier this morning.

Cedric Declouet said he saw Collins’ white pickup truck go over a railroad track and then land on top of a motorcycle.

He explained he heard Collins come out of his truck and start yelling “What did I do” repeatedly out loud.

Another witness named Shatonya Freeman said she heard the wreck when she was inside her home.

She told the jury she ran to the accident and saw the crushed motorcycle and two people lying over handlebars.

When she ran over to the victims she tried to check for a pulse but could not find one.

At the beginning of the sentencing, Collins was wearing a white t-shirt and jeans.

His lawyer, Luro C. Taylor said he was disappointed that his client did not dress in nicer clothes for his hearing. He explained the family usually provides clothes for the defendant when they appear in court.

However, after the lunch break Collins appeared in court wearing a button-down shirt. 

Testimony continues Wednesday at 9 a.m. Collins faces up to 20 years in prison for each charge.

© 2017 KBMT-TV


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