Pearl River County woman pleas, sentenced for DUI with death

Published 1:35 pm Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Poplarville, Mississippi, 15th Circuit Court District Attorney Hal Kittrell announces the plea and sentencing of Tara Leigh Cox in the Circuit Court of Pearl River County, Mississippi . Cox entered her plea of guilty to Four Counts of Felony DUI, causing Death before Judge Claiborne “Buddy” McDonald on Friday, January 21, 2021. These charges arose from a head on collision on the night of July 21, 2018 on Highway 53 in Pearl River County, Mississippi. A 2006 Chevrolet Silverado driven by Cox collided head on with a 2015 Chevrolet Sonic. Four of the five people in the Chevrolet Sonic died as a result of this collision.   Cox’s blood alcohol level was nearly two times the limit allowed by state law.


Cox was sentenced to serve a term of 60 years with 30 years suspended and 30 years to be served in the Mississippi Department of Corrections. The State of Mississippi was represented by Assistant District Attorney John Dowdy, Jr., and the case was investigated by the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

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“The law allows an adult to drink. The law allows an adult to drive. The law does not allow an adult to drink and drive. This case exemplifies how the extremely poor decision to drive after drinking can result in the tragic loss of life. The families involved continue to be in our thoughts and prayers. While this sentence cannot cure the grief felt by the loved ones of the four victims, it is our hope it will be a deterrent to others from drinking and driving on our roadways,” District Attorney Hal Kittrell said in the release.