After serving time for one crime, man faces more prison time in drunk driving case where vehicle crashed into Mississippi casino shuttle filled with patrons

Published 5:50 am Friday, August 6, 2021

After serving time in prison for one crime, a  man now faces charges in a fatal drunk driving case that killed one man and injured another woman when he allegedly drove his vehicle while intoxicated into a Mississippi casino shuttle that was carrying patrons.

James Dakota Mooney, 25, from Vidalia, Louisiana, was indicted for 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.

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

The charges stem from a 2018 fatal wreck at the foot of the Mississippi River bridge that connects Natchez with Vidalia, Louisiana.

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

According to police, Mooney then exited the bridge and 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.

During the wreck, Casper Parker was killed and Elizabeth Sawyer. was seriously injured.

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 . Officials did not say for what crime Mooney was serving time.

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