Vidalia man arrested in Sunday morning crash

Published 1:01 am Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Vidalia — A Vidalia man was arrested Monday after allegedly ramming a Magnolia Bluffs Casino van early Sunday morning after speeding across the Mississippi River Bridge.

Vidalia Police Chief Joey Merrill said an officer observed James Dakota Mooney, 22, 100 Mosay Court, running a red light in Vidalia Saturday night and turned on his blue lights and siren to signal the man to stop.

Instead of halting, Merrill said Mooney began swerving and driving on the shoulder of the road to pass other vehicles.

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Merrill said the officer called the Natchez Police Department to alert officers of the speeding vehicle headed over the Mississippi River Bridge.

The Vidalia Police Officer had to follow at a distance because of the number of cars between his patrol car and Mooney’s truck.

“He was just getting to the top of the bridge when he saw the accident,” Merrill said. “He did everything the way policy says to do it. He initiated his siren to warn others … (that Mooney) was driving erratically.”

After exiting the Mississippi River Bridge, Mooney’s truck collided into a Magnolia Bluffs Casino van that was carrying four patrons and an employee of the casino on John R. Junkin Road.

Merrill said his officer immediately called ambulance services, which arrived on the scene shortly thereafter.

The accident, he said, happened at approximately 12:07 a.m. Sunday morning.

The Mississippi Highway Patrol is investigating the incident. Highway patrol public affairs officers did not respond to calls Monday.

Merrill said he had no knowledge of the extent of the injuries of the five patrons and employees on the Magnolia Bluffs van.

Mooney was arrested after being released from the hospital. Mooney was charged with violation of a red light and aggravated flight from officers.

Merrill said more charges are likely pending from the Mississippi Highway Patrol.