Funeral held for 5 Choctaw children killed in crash - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Funeral held for 5 Choctaw children killed in crash

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Two hearses carried the bodies of the young victims, ranging in age from 18 months to 9-years-old, and as the vehicles passed, the children released the balloons. Two hearses carried the bodies of the young victims, ranging in age from 18 months to 9-years-old, and as the vehicles passed, the children released the balloons.
NESHOBA COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Sadness and tears flooded the Choctaw community as hundreds said goodbye to five children killed after an SUV left the road and plunged into a creek Saturday. One adult also perished.

The driver of that vehicle is behind bars charged with six counts of felony DUI manslaughter.

Flags flew at half staff and people lined the street leading to the Pearl River Community Center on the Choctaw Reservation in Neshoba County. The somber occasion hosted funeral services for the five young children killed Saturday after the SUV they rode in, plunged into a creek off County Road 107.

Children held balloons along the funeral route. Two hearses carried the bodies of the young victims, ranging in age from 18 months to 9-years-old, and as the vehicles passed, the children released the balloons.

Renate Ben expressed just how difficult the tragedy has been on his family. "My niece and my son have gone to the same school with them and my niece was one of the class members with one of the kids. And, I don't know how to explain to her, and she's only in Pre-K and I still don't know what to say to her."

Randi Williams is a teacher at Pearl River Elementary School where four of the five children who were killed, attended school.

"She's still confused; doesn't understand, you know, why this had to happen to her," Williams explained of his daughter's emotions. "But everything that happened, it's for a reason and just have to explain to her that sometimes bad things happen to good people and we should all learn from other people's mistakes."

The man who was driving the Dodge Durango, 34-year-old Duane John, was the father of the young victims. He is now charged with six counts of felony DUI manslaughter. An adult was also killed in the crash; one of nine people in the SUV.

John is behind bars at the Neshoba County law enforcement center on $150,000 bond. An investigation continues, but the cause of death for all victims appears to be drowning.

Renate Ben said, "When this happened, it hit all of us very, very hard. Even though we aren't related or anything, it hit everybody really hard."

The lone adult killed in the accident, 37-year-old Dianne Lewis Chickaway, will be buried Thursday after a funeral service at Hopewell Baptist Church in Leake County.

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