Charges filed in traffic death of 5 children, adult in Neshoba
Monday, December 31, 2012 11:38 AM
Duane John was charged with six counts of DUI manslaughter Monday in the deaths of his five children and an adult in a wreck that occurred early Saturday morning, according to Neshoba County Sheriff Tommy Waddell.
The vehicle is pulled from the creek.
John, 34, was released from Neshoba County General Hospital Monday morning and charged by the Sheriff's Office in the afternoon, Waddell said.
John was in the county jail on a $150,000 bond, said Waddell.
Waddell said they are awaiting the toxicology report, although the charges were filed.
Funerals will be held this week for the children and adult who died when their sport utility vehicle driven by John careened off a Neshoba County road and into a creek.
All of the victims of Saturday's crash were members of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and lived in the Pearl River community.
Tribe spokeswoman Misty Dreifuss said a funeral for the children, who ranged in age from 18 months to 9 years old, will be held Wednesday at a tribal building in Choctaw. A wake for the siblings was planned for Monday, she said.
Services for the children will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday, at the Pearl River Facility Building.
The Rev. Robert Paul Tubby will officiate.
Burial will be in the New Canaan Cemetery. Visitation will begin at 2 p.m. Monday at the Pearl River Facility Building.
A funeral for Dianne Chickaway, a 38-year-old friend of the children's family, will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at Hopewell Baptist Church in Leake County.
The Rev. Shelly Peoples will officiate. Burial will be in the Standing Pine Cemetery. Visitation began at 4 p.m. Sunday at 137 Chitto Cove.
"It has hit the community very hard," Dreifuss said of the 10,000-member tribe.
A statement from Chickaway's family described her as a "very loving and caring person" with many friends.
"We are struggling to understand this tragedy. We will miss her and also grieve for the other lives that were lost. She now joins a son she had lost many years ago," the statement says.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation, and no charges were immediately filed. A crash reconstruction team from the Mississippi Highway Patrol was to visit the scene Sunday.
Neshoba County Sheriff Tommy Waddell said the victims apparently drowned after their Dodge Durango left a country road and plunged into a rain-swollen creek 20 miles southeast of Philadelphia.
Waddell said the children's father, John, remained hospitalized Sunday. Their mother, Deanna Jim, and Chickaway's husband, Dale Chickaway, also survived.
The children who died 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.
Waddell said it appeared that none of the children was in a child restraint, and that none of the adults was wearing a seat belt.
Dreifuss said four of the five children attended Pearl River Elementary School.