Driver gets 15 years in fatal crash
Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 26, 2015
A Warren County man was sentenced to 15 years in prison for a drunk driving crash that killed a Vicksburg woman in 2014.
Circuit Judge M. James Chaney issued the sentence in the aggravated driving under the influence case against Dakota West, 23, 1270 Jeff Davis Road.
“It was a very difficult case. There are two families that have suffered because of Dakota West’s actions,” District Attorney Ricky Smith said.
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The crash killed 26-year-old Krystal Foster of Vicksburg and leaves West’s son “without a father present for a very long time,” Smith said.
Attempts to reach Foster’s mother, Yolanda Bolls were unsuccessful but she has previously said the family still mourned Foster’s death.
“Nothing will bring her back, but to me this will stop this from happening to somebody’s child from him,” Bolls said after West was found guilty Sept. 2.
West’s attorney, David Sessums, has declined to comment, and attempts to reach West’s family have been 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, 2014.
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 was on the way to Bolls’ home, family members have 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.
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 West made to law enforcement that he was driving about 50 miles per hour. The speed limit on that section of Washington Street is 30 miles per hour.
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.
One other DUI-related fatal crash case is open with the DA’s office.
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.