PHILADELPHIA, MS.- Neshoba County Sheriff Tommy Waddell says Duane John, 34, has been charged with six felony counts of DUI manslaughter after a crash this weekend that killed an adult and his five children.
Authorities say John was drunk when the Dodge Durango he was driving went off the road, down an embankment, and into a rain-swollen creek shortly after midnight Saturday. Also in the SUV were five of John’s children along with three other adults. No one was wearing their seat belts.
Aside from John, only two other people survived the crash; Deanna Jim, who is the children’s mother, and Dale Chickaway. Killed were Dasyanna John, 9; Duane John, 8; Bobby John, 7; Quinton John, 4; Kekaimeas John, 18 months; and Chickaway’s wife, Dianne Lewis Chickaway, 37.
Waddel said that all of the deceased were still inside the vehicle at the time of their recovery, and that he believes they all drowned.
Duane John was charged after being released from the Neshoba County General Hospital where he’d been hospitalized for hypothermia and water inhalation. He has been placed in the county jail and is being held there on a $150,000 bond.
“The accident is still under investigation,” Waddell said. “On a case like this, just because an arrest was made and there are charges, we still have a lot of leg work we have to do before it’s turned over to the district attorney’s office. We want to look at every angle.”
The group belonged to the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and had been headed from the Choctaw Indian reservation of Pearl River to the Connehatta reservation when the crash occurred.
If you take a look at the photos on Dianne Chickaway’s Facebook page, you’ll see that she and her friends really liked Bud Light.