Mississippi man gets 50 years for DUI deaths of two teens

Published 9:53 pm Monday, September 25, 2023

A Mississippi man is facing a sentence of five decades for the deaths of two teens.

Joseph Lee Franklin was sentenced to 50 years Thursday in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections with 30 years to serve incarcerated followed by 20 years of supervised post release supervision for the crime of Aggravated Driving Under the Influence Causing Death.

Franklin was indicted for the February 12, 2021, motor vehicle accident that occurred around 7:30 a.m. on Highway 43 in Simpson County and which caused the deaths of high school seniors Damion Ford and Eric McKenny and serious injuries to two other teenagers in the vehicle.

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Evidence developed during the investigation by the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol showed that Franklin entered the lane of travel of the teenagers and struck their vehicle head on. A blood sample taken pursuant to a search warrant determined that Franklin was under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of the accident.

“Franklin’s decision to speed on a wet roadway while under the influence of methamphetamines cut short the lives of two very bright and talented young people and forever changed the lives of their families,” a press release from District Attorney Chris Hennis said. “I want to thank the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol and specifically the Accident Reconstruction Team made up of Troopers Johnathan Smith and Barry Stingley Jr., for the outstanding investigation conducted in this case. Because of the thorough and technical reconstruction performed by the troopers, my office was able to show that the wreck was caused by the negligence of Joseph Lee Franklin.”