Case in which two children died goes to grand jury

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 16, 2000

When the Warren County grand jury convenes Monday, it will decide if a county man should be held responsible in the Interstate 20 deaths of two Texas children.

David Drew Porter, 4701 Bovina Cut-Off Road, was arrested July 2 on Interstate 20 near Flowers after Thalia Tarango, 11, and her brother, Anthony Tarango, 6, died. They were killed when the Dodge pickup he was driving hit the van in which the children were sleeping. Porter, a 34-year-old father of one, was released from Warren County Jail four days later on a first offender’s bond, which means the 10 percent he was required to post, $10,000 of the set $100,000 bond, will be returned to him if he appears in court when scheduled. Porter hopes to use the money to help the children’s family, an attorney for Porter said.

The van in which the children, their mother, aunt, uncle and two cousins were riding had pulled onto the shoulder of the highway when the wreck happened. The family was returning to their Tyler, Texas, homes, after a vacation.

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On Sept. 26, the children’s family filed a lawsuit against Porter and the George Street Grocery, a Jackson bar Porter visited on the night of the wreck.

The District Attorney’s Office, which will prosecute the case if Porter is indicted, and the Mississippi Highway Patrol, which handled the investigation, have refused to release the results of the blood-alcohol tests performed on Porter after the wreck.

But in the suit filed in Warren County Circuit Court, the family claims that Porter was drunk. They also say George Street Grocery continued to serve him alcohol after he became intoxicated, before he began the drive back to Vicksburg.

The family is asking for damages to recover medical expenses and for pain and suffering.

If convicted of manslaughter, Porter could face up to 40 years in prison.

In addition to Porter’s case, evidence in two murder cases will be heard by the grand jury.

Vicksburg Police say one of the slayings stemmed from a domestic dispute, and the other, a beating.

Anthony Green, 54, was arrested July 28 and charged with the stabbing death of his wife, Debora Johnson Green.

The 31-year-old mother of three was found dead a day earlier at the home she shared with her husband at 1910 Sky Farm Ave.

Green was arrested while he was being treated at a Jackson hospital for stab wounds he sustained the morning his wife died. He told police during the initial investigation that his wife inflicted the wounds.

About a month later, on Aug. 26, Dock Davis Jr., was arrested and charged with aggravated assault after 37-year-old Bobby Pinkney, 913 China St., was beaten with a metal pipe at The Smoke Break at Cherry and Clay streets.

After Pinkney died the next day, the charges against Davis were upgraded to murder.

Davis and Green remain in the Warren County Jail.

All told, the October term of the grand jury will hear evidence in 104 cases, the largest load presented to a grand jury this year. Jurors in January deliberated 83 cases, 61 were presented in May, and 82 were heard in July.

“I think one of the reasons for the increase is the amount of felony bad-check cases we have this time,” District Attorney Gil Martin said.

Martin said other grand juries have dealt with three or four check cases, compared with 22 this term.

“There is not a specific pattern with the checks,” Martin said. “Some of them are old cases that we are now doing.”