La. man charged in DUI fatality in coastal Miss.

Published 1:18 am Sunday, October 24, 2010

Police say a man from Tickfaw, La., is charged with felony DUI in a wreck that killed a woman Friday on U.S. Highway 90 in coastal Pascagoula, Miss.

Bond was set at $301,500 for 24-year-old Christopher Harper, and police said Saturday he’s being held in the Pascagoula city jail. Harper is set to appear Monday in city court.

Authorities said 53-year-old Angelia F. Laster of Gautier, Miss., was trapped in her burning Chevrolet Tracker and died about 11:35 a.m. Friday, before firefighters arrived.

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Her 34-year-old daughter, Diedrel Laster, was pulled from the Tracker before it caught fire. Diedrel Laster in stable condition late Friday at Singing River hospital, said hospital spokesman Richard Lucas.

Police said Harper was driving a GMC Yukon that hit the back of the Tracker, which was stopped in a highway construction zone where the road narrows and traffic often backs up. The Tracker was pushed into a Nissan Sentra.

The four passengers in the Sentra had minor injuries but declined to be taken to a hospital.

Harper’s passenger, James Hunter Crouch, age and city unknown, was transported and admitted to Singing River Hospital. He was in intensive care and in stable condition Friday night, Lucas said.

Police said Harper refused medical treatment. A police department employee said Saturday that Harper also is charged with two counts of aggravated assault and of driving with a suspended license and without insurance.

Police said Biloxi Fire Department Battalion Chief Jeff Merrill, U.S. Navy sailors Richard Fox and Julio Ramos, and U.S. Navy medic Steven Chartier — who happened to be near the crash — assisted people out of the wrecked vehicles. Laster was pinned in her vehicle and couldn’t be removed before it caught fire.