Drunk driver that killed four gets 20 years

Published 10:07 pm Saturday, September 8, 2007

Charles LePine of Hancock County who was found guilty of a four year-old DUI accident that took the lives of four people, two of whom were infants, was sentenced to 20 years, 15 of which are to be served.

On Friday, Circuit Court Judge Prentiss Harrell sentenced Charles LePine, who was 42 at the time of the accident, to 20 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Fifteen of those years are to be spent in prison, with five to be served in post release custody.

After Harrell read the sentence, he asked LePine if he understood, to which LePine answered, “I guess I have to.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“All I have to say is I didn’t mean for it to happen,” LePine said.

The sentence accident causing the deaths occurred Feb. 22, 2003. That night, LePine and nine other people, consisting of family and friends, piled into a station wagon and went to see Mardi Gras parades in Louisiana. After the parades LePine said he had only three beers at a friend’s house.

On the way back home LePine’s vehicle left the road while traveling south on Miss. 43 South in Pearl River County, followed the ditch for about the length of a football field, hit a culvert and flipped. The four victims in the accident were seven month-old Lance LePine, two month-old Kenneth Paul Verrett Jr., Frank Verrett, 29, of Metairie and Kenneth Verrett, 31, of Hancock. LePine and the other five passengers survived.

Blood alcohol tests taken two hours after the accident showed LePine had a blood alcohol level of 0.09 percent. Drivers are considered driving under the influence with a blook alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher. Mississippi Crime Lab toxicologist Wendy Hathcock, who conducted the test on LePine’s blood, said the human body begins to metabolize alcohol in the elimination stage at an average rate of 0.02 percent for every hour.