Police pursuit started because occupants weren't wearing seatbelts

Police pursuit started because occupants weren't wearing seatbelts

LUCEDALE, MS (WLOX) - We now know more about why Lucedale police tried to pull over a car that was later involved in a fatal crash Saturday night: An officer noticed the driver, Jesse Dickerson, and at least one passenger weren't wearing seatbelts.

Lucedale Police Chief Kellum Fairley tells WLOX News Now his officer tried to stop Jesse Dickerson around Winter Street, near George County Regional Hospital. Both cars were going about 25-30mph at this time, but then Dickerson started picking up speed, darting past other cars. When he reached the city limits, the officer pulled back. Chief Fairley said it's his department's policy not to pursue vehicles for misdemeanor violations.

The chase ended no more than two minutes after it started when Dickerson crashed, killing three children in his car. Officials said none of the victims was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.

The three crash victims who died from their injuries were identified as Spencer Havard, 16, who was in the front passenger seat; Sierra Jean Dixon, 7; and Terra Dixon, 9. Both girls were in the backseat.

Two other people in the car were treated and released for their injuries. A 39-year-old woman remains at USA Medical Center with critical injuries.

Tuesday night, the community will come together at Central Elementary School to remember the three siblings. The memorial starts at 7:30pm.

Eight to ten counselors, and just as many local ministers have been at Central Elementary School this week to help the students deal with the loss of two classmates.

"We're really focusing on the elementary students right now," George County Schools Superintendent Pam Touchard said. 
She told WLOX News the kids have been having a hard time focusing on class work because emotions have been so high.

"Teachers are also having a hard time," she added. "Teachers who have been with them through the years as they've grown, it's hard for them, too."

Touchard said the counselors will stay to help the children cope and comfort them as long as they are needed.

As for the driver of the car, 23-year-old Jesse Dickerson is still being held at the George County jail on a $1 million bond. He faces four felony counts of leaving the scene of an accident causing injury or death.

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