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Dad Gets 90 Years for DUI Crash; 5 Kids Killed

By Aditi Mukherji, JD on October 03, 2013 3:11 PM

A Mississippi man was sentenced to 90 years in prison for killing his five kids and an adult family friend in a fatal DUI crash last year.

Duane John Sr., 34, of Philadelphia, Mississippi, was sentenced to 15 years on each count of DUI-related manslaughter to run consecutively for a total 90 years.

Fifteen years were suspended, leaving 75 to serve in prison.

Fatal DUI Accident

John was indicted last May in the deaths of his children: Daisyanna John, 9; Duane John Jr., 8; Bobby John, 7; Quinton John, 4; and Kekambas John, 18 months. Family friend Diane Chickaway, 37, was also killed, reports The Associated Press.

The six died days before New Year's, when the Dodge Durango in which they were traveling in swerved off the road and plunged into a creek.

None of the passengers were wearing seatbelts and John's blood alcohol level was 0.18 percent, more than twice Mississippi's legal limit, according to MSNBC.

John, the driver, the children's mother Deanna Jim, 28, and Dale Chickaway, 37, escaped serious injury in the incident.

All nine passengers were members of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and lived in the Pearl River community.

Vehicular Manslaughter in Mississippi

Like most states, in Mississippi, DUI-related manslaughter occurs from the death of another caused by the defendant's operating a vehicle while impaired.

In Mississippi, a driver convicted of DUI-related manslaughter can be sentenced anywhere from five to 25 years in prison and be fined not more than $10,000, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The presence of children is a major aggravating factor.

In this case, the presence of children (who weren't even secured in seatbelts) likely enhanced John's sentence to 15 years per count.

Drunken driving with kids in the car is becoming increasingly common, but this tragic story is a sobering reminder that one too many drinks can devastate you and your loved ones lives' completely.

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