Five small children, along with one adult, died in a tragic wreck on Saturday. On Dec. 29, Fox News reported that a SUV went off a road in Mississippi. Officials say after going off the road, the vehicle then plummeted into a creek filled with rain water.
In his report, Neshoba County Sheriff Tommy Waddell stated that the victims drowned shortly after midnight when the Durango left the county road, which is just southeast of Philadelphia. The five children who died were later identified by the coroner as Dasyanna John, 9, Duane John, 8, Bobby John, 7, Quinton John, 4, and 18-month-old Kekaimeas John. The only adult to die in this terrible crash was a friend of the family, Diane Chickaway, 37.
It was reported that all victims were part of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and lived in the Pearl River community. The tribe runs a large casino a few miles east of Philadelphia.
Dewayne John, the children’s father, survived the crash and is now being treated for hypothermia and water inhalation at the local hospital. The mother of the children, Deanna Jim, and Chickaway’s husband, also survived. Dewayne John was the driver of the SUV and he was tested to see if alcohol played a role in the crash.
When the results arrive and if officials decide to file charges, the Sheriff stated that it is unlikely that any action will take place before Wednesday. Authorities believe neither the children or adults involved were wearing seat belts.
This tragic incident has saddened the Indian community and tribal chief Phyliss J. Anderson gave the following statement to the media
“It’s always sad to hear of the death of a tribal member, but today our tribe experienced a great tragedy with the loss of six beautiful Choctaw souls. I cannot begin to imagine what the friends, relatives and loved ones are feeling,” said in a statement. “There are no words that can express our sincere condolences to such a horrific accident. I join many of you in the outpouring display of love and support shown to the families during this difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
Waddell said that weather was a non-factor in the accident, because ice wasn’t present on the road and it was not raining at the time of the accident. The submerged vehicle was located by divers from the fire department, and the bodies were sent out to have autopsies performed. The Mississippi Highway Patrol will start reconstruction of the accident scene beginning Sunday to try to get further details on what happened.
A tribal spokesperson said funeral arrangements are expected to be made Sunday and the children will likely be buried together. News about the tragic deaths rapidly spread through the tribe and it has left many members shaken. When 5 children die in a wreck, it comes as no surprise that this was the deadliest accident to happen in the county in years.