Vehicular homicide charges filed

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 27, 2008

VIDALIA — A Natchez man has been charged with two counts of vehicular homicide in connection with the mid-May fatal four-car pileup on the Vidalia-Natchez bridge over the Mississippi River.

Cedric A. Hunter, 24, 6 Newman Drive, turned himself in to the Vidalia Police Wednesday morning on a bench warrant for the charges. His bond was set at $200,000

The surrender was arranged earlier this week with Hunter’s attorney, Police Chief Billy Hammers said.

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Hunter was initially arrested on charges of DWI (first offense), and was released on a $696 bond.

It was that initial DWI charge that led to Hunter’s arrest Wednesday, Hammers said.

“Under Louisiana law, if you blow a DWI (in a fatal accident), you can be charged with vehicular homicide even if you aren’t faulted with the wreck,” Hammers said.

The investigation into the wreck has been hindered in part because the police had to wait until the Louisiana State Police submitted their part of the investigation to the Vidalia police.

The Vidalia police have received that report, which contained scale drawings of the accident and an opinion on who should be faulted in the wreck, but Hammers said he did not know who was faulted.

Investigator DeLayne Bush said he would not release that information at this time, and would not say if more arrests were pending.

“We’re just trying to get though this one piece at a time, and there are a lot of pieces,” Bush said. “This investigation is still ongoing, but it is going to be time consuming.”

The Vidalia police responded to the accident, in which a gray Dodge pickup, a green Chrysler four-door sedan, a silver Dodge four-door and a black Crown Victoria were involved, at 4:01 a.m., May 18.

One victim, Terrence Johnson, 20, died at the scene.

A second victim, Kelvin Keys, 22, later died at University Medical Center, in Jackson, from the injuries he received in the accident.

A third victim, whose name Bush said he would not release, was also transported to a Jackson hospital, treated and later released.

All three of those victims were reportedly in the same vehicle.

Though others were involved in the accident, they reportedly fled the scene.

The incident allegedly involved illegal racing, and all four vehicles had reportedly left Danny’s Lounge, a nightclub in Vidalia, just prior to the accident.

A fifth vehicle, a Ford Mustang, was on the bridge that morning, but was involved in a separate, single-vehicle accident just prior to the four-vehicle accident.