Vidalia man facing charges for allegedly driving intoxicated causing fatality, serious injury

Published 1:52 pm Thursday, August 5, 2021

NATCHEZ — A Vidalia man who allegedly caused an accident while intoxicated that killed one man and injured a woman in 2018 faces a court date in Natchez next week.

James Dakota Mooney, age 25, faces the charge of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol resulting in the death of Casper Parker and the serious injuring of Elizabeth Sawyer.


The incident occurred while Mooney allegedly had an unlawful alcohol concentration in his blood resulting in two felony indictments: Aggravated DUI with an unlawful blood alcohol level resulting in the death of another and aggravated DUI with an unlawful blood alcohol level resulting in the serious injury of another.

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Each charge is punishable with five to 25 years in prison, said Sixth District Prosecuting Attorney Shameca Collins.

Mooney was indicted in October 2020 and was booked in the Adams County Jail on Monday after serving jail time at an out of state facility for another incident, officials said.

In 2018, Vidalia Police Chief Joey Merrill said Mooney fled from a Vidalia Police officer who observed him running a red light in Vidalia, where instead of yielding to lights and sirens, drove erratically past other vehicles and sped cross the Mississippi River Bridge.

When he exited the bridge, he collided with a Magnolia Bluff’s Casino shuttle, which was carrying four patrons and an employee of the casino on John R. Junkin Drive, Merrill said. The incident was further investigated by the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

Mooney is scheduled for Adams County Sixth District Circuit Court at 9 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 12, with Judge Debra Blackwell overseeing the proceedings.