Gautier man guilty of DUI that killed a Jackson Co. mom

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A Gautier man who drove drunk and fell asleep behind the wheel will spend at least 16 years behind bars after pleading guilty to DUI causing death.

The October 2010 accident killed a woman who was driving down Highway 90 with her daughter. Prosecutors said Christopher Salvatore Harper, 25, ran into Angelia Laster on Highway 90 between the Pascagoula high rise bridge and the Gautier city limits.  

"The decisions that the defendant made nearly two years ago had a devastating effect on many people's lives.  Mr. Harper chose to drive, knowing that he was intoxicated, and a member of our community lost her life as a result of his decision.  That death could have been prevented if he had thought about the consequences of drinking and driving," said Cherie Wade, Assistant District Attorney.  

District Attorney Tony Lawrence stated, "A family lost their mother and the affect of this terrible crime on this family will continue for many years.  This case is another sad example of the consequences of drinking and driving.  Driving under the influence can result in the unnecessary loss of lives and I hope that those who make the decision to drink and drive realize that they will be held accountable under the laws of our state for their actions."

Senior Circuit Court Judge Kathy King Jackson sentenced Harper to 25 years in prison. He'll have to serve 16 years with another nine years under post-release supervision. Harper must also pay all court costs, a $2000 fine, a $200 assessment to the Crime Victim's Compensation Fund, and restitution in the amount of $3240.  

While incarcerated, he must also complete the Alcohol and Drug Program. And upon his release from prison, Harper will have to complete 100 hours of community service to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.  

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