HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Markey Johnny Tanner, 25, will spend the next two decades behind bars for driving drunk after a Mardi Gras parade, then hitting and killing Megan Dekleinhans. A witness who was in the car with Tanner at the time of the accident said he not only saw her before the collision but after hitting her commented that she shouldn't have been in the roadway.
The crash happened on February 6, 2016, just before 9pm on Lamey Street in D'Iberville. Tanner admitted drinking alcohol while at a Mardi Gras parade that day and at several bars after the parade.
Witnesses who spent the day with Tanner gave a more detailed description of how his blood alcohol level reached 0.165 percent at the time of the accident - more than double the legal limit. They remembered seeing him drink four to five beers and consume between 10 and 15 tequila-filled Jello-shots while at the parade, then have at least three more beers at the bars afterward.
A passenger in Tanner's car at the time of the crash said he was driving his Mazda RX8 at a high rate of speed down Brodie Road in D'Iberville, and then executed a "drift-style" turn northbound onto Lamey Street. Once on Lamey, he came within inches of striking the victim's boyfriend and the truck he was driving before hitting Deklienhans.
"Witnesses say that after striking the victim, the defendant turned his lights off and fled the scene," Assistant District Attorney Ian Baker said. "The defendant was pulled over by officers with the Biloxi Police Department within minutes of the collision, who noticed the heavy damage to the front end of his vehicle, including a spider-webbing of the windshield and a side mirror missing from the vehicle. The victim suffered massive internal injuries as a result of the collision and was pronounced dead at Merit Health shortly after the collision."
The victim's DNA was also recovered from the front of Tanner's vehicle.
At Tuesday's sentencing, the victim's parents, Jim and Linda Deklienhans provided the court with a statement that described their daughter and shared that she was kind and loving, often took in rescue animals and worked to meet the needs of the homeless in her community.
Circuit Court Judge Christopher L. Schmidt said, "It is not the function of this court to impose vengeance or provide mercy, but rather it is the function of the court to craft a sentence which provides justice."
Schmidt then sentenced Tanner to a total of 25 years, with 20 years to serve in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
"The sentenced imposed by Judge Schmidt hopefully provides justice to the victim's family and reinforces the severe consequences one faces when making the decision to drink and drive," District Attorney Joel Smith said.