Driver found guilty in fatal crash

Published 9:43 am Friday, September 4, 2015

A Warren County man was found guilty Wednesday in a drunk driving crash that killed a 26-year-old Vicksburg woman.

Dakota West, 23, 1270 Jeff Davis Road, was found guilty of aggravated driving under the influence causing death or injury following a three-day trial in a 2014 crash head-on crash on Washington Street that killed 26-year-old Krystal Foster.

“I want to thank the jury for allowing us to bring justice to Krystal Foster and her family,” District Attorney Ricky Smith said.

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Circuit Judge M. James Chaney set sentencing for 2 p.m. Sept. 17. West faces up to 20 years in prison.

“We’re feeling rejoiced,” said Foster’s mother, Yolanda Bolls. “Justice has been served. Nothing will bring her back but to me this will stop this from happening to somebody’s child from him.”

The family has struggled with Foster’s death, Bolls said.



“I still can’t believe my baby’s gone and left me. It’s so sad,” she said. “She was a sweet young lady. She had her life planned. Most kids don’t do that, but she was always that way. She was always happy and never said a bad thing about anybody.”

West’s attorney, David Sessums, declined to comment. Attempts to reach West’s family were unsuccessful.

West was behind the wheel of a southbound Lincoln LS when it collided with a northbound Ford Aerostar van near Washington and Bowman streets May 23.

When a blood alcohol sample was taken three hours after the crash, West’s alcohol level was .15, Smith said.

The legal blood alcohol limit for an adult to drive a noncommercial vehicle in Mississippi is .08.

Foster was a passenger in the van driven by her boyfriend Maurice Hall. The couple were on the way to Bolls’ home, family members said. Hall suffered minor injuries in the crash. West was also seriously injured and taken to University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.

Following his release from the hospital, he was arrested and posted $85,000 bail and remained free until the guilty verdict was rendered Wednesday. Thursday, West was listed as being held without bail in the Warren County Jail.

A civil suit filed in fall 2014 against West and 1311 Bar and Grill remains open.

The suit contends West was intoxicated and driving well above the posted speed limit.

During the criminal trial, Smith presented a statement to West made to law enforcement that was driving about 50 miles per hour. The speed limit on that section of Washington Street is 30 miles per hour.

“That would result in him going the distance of about half the football field in two seconds,” Smith said.

The criminal trial was originally set for last November but delayed after Sessums sought independent expert analysis of the vehicles involved in the crash and a toxicology sample taken from West.

The guilty verdict in the case leaves a single DUI-related fatal crash case open with the DA’s office, Smith said.

Joseph White, 31, who lists addresses on Oak Ridge and Falk Steel roads, was indicted by the July term of the grand jury for two counts of aggravated DUI causing injury or death in a fatal crash in May.

Brothers William Harvey Raney, 56, and John Harold Raney, 52, both of 386 Murray Road, were killed in the crash.

White is set to stand trial in February.