Man arrested for aggravated DUI in fatality

Published 12:05 am Saturday, December 9, 2017


NATCHEZ — Police have arrested a man who allegedly struck and killed a pedestrian with his vehicle late one night in November, charging him with aggravated DUI and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death.

Natchez Police Chief Walter Armstrong said Gary White turned himself into authorities while accompanied by his attorney at approximately 2 p.m. Friday.

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After a nearly month-long wait, Armstrong said results from the Mississippi State Crime Lab confirmed that White’s blood alcohol level was over the legal driving limit — .08 for persons 21 years of age and older — when he allegedly hit a 32-year-old woman attempting to cross Seargent S. Prentiss Drive.

White was reportedly driving southbound down the highway in his GMC Yukon Denali SUV, when the woman attempted to run across the road, police said.

White reportedly then went to park his car in the nearby Walmart parking lot, which authorities determined was grounds for the charge of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death. Officers did, however, make contact with White following the incident.

White reportedly claimed to have thought he hit a deer — not a person.

Armstrong said the crime lab results confirmed what police had thought from the beginning, but also that the department had to ensure they were absolutely certain before making an arrest.

“We suspected alcohol all along,” Armstrong said. “There was never any doubt that alcohol was involved. To what degree, we didn’t know.”

Armstrong said officers on scene following the accident could smell alcohol coming from White, though NPD did not have concrete evidence until the return of the crime lab results.

“In this case, there’s no doubt, according to the state crime lab and according to his own blood, that he was under the influence the night this accident took place,” Armstrong said.

Due to a backlog at the state crime lab, Armstrong initially stated that the department could have to wait months for a return, yet police reportedly received the results in less than four weeks.

As of approximately 3:15 p.m. Friday, Armstrong said White was being held without bond, though Armstrong said the bond would likely be set by the end of the weekend.