Man charged in auto crash that killed six

Published 1:05 am Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The driver of a SUV that careened off a road and into a rain-swollen creek has been charged with six counts of DUI manslaughter.

Neshoba County Sheriff Tommy Waddell said bond was set at $150,000 for Duane John. John, 34, remained in the county jail Tuesday.

Waddell said John was arrested Monday after his release from Neshoba County General Hospital.

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Five children and one adult died in Saturday’s accident in Neshoba County.

Waddell said authorities they are awaiting the official toxicology report.

“I’m not going to go into a lot of the details we have, but the evidence we’ve gathered is that it’s alcohol-related,” Waddell said when asked about the charges.

An accident reconstruction team of the Highway Patrol was at the site Sunday. Officials said the report would be finalized in a week or two and turned over to Waddell.

Waddell said the victims apparently drowned after their Dodge Durango left a country road and plunged into a creek 20 miles southeast of Philadelphia. The victims of Saturday’s crash were members of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and lived in the Pearl River community.

The victims were identified as 9-year-old Daisyanna John; 8-year-old Duane John; 7-year-old Bobby John; 4-year-old Quinton John; and 18-month-old Kekambas John; and 38-year-old Dianne Chickaway.

Waddell said John and two others survived — the mother of the children, Deanna Jim, and Chickaway’s husband, Dale Chickaway.

Tribe spokeswoman Misty Dreifuss said a funeral for the children will be held 2 p.m. Wednesday at the tribe’s Pearl River Facility Building in Choctaw.

A funeral for Dianne Chickaway is to be held 2 p.m. Thursday at Hopewell Baptist Church in Leake County.