‘Clear and present danger’ | Judge denies bond for woman charged with killing two people in aggravated DUI case
Details of alcohol-fueled evening emerge during preliminary hearing
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The woman charged with killing a mother and her infant son in a collision weeks ago will be remanded to the Raymond Detention Center and held behind bars until after a grand jury proceeding determines whether she should be indicted on aggravated DUI charges.
County Court Judge Johnnie McDaniels called 51-year-old Beth Ann White a “clear and present danger” to Hinds County residents after hearing from the county prosecutor and White’s attorney, Kevin Camp, during a preliminary hearing Monday.
White’s charges stem from an incident November 1 where she collided with another vehicle at Highway 18 and Springridge Road, killing Allison Conaway and her six-month-old son Alex.
Conaway’s other two children remain hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.
Trooper Anthony Heath with the Mississippi Highway Patrol testified Monday that White had gone to a bar beforehand, drinking two “medium” drinks consisting of vodka and Sprite hours before the wreck.
Witnesses also told troopers that White was asleep while waiting for the traffic light at Maddox Road to change shortly before the incident occurred.
Heath told the court White refused portable breathalyzer and field sobriety tests.
The trooper said they also found a large Seagram’s gin container that had alcohol in it as well, suggesting White might have been sipping from it while driving.
Hours after the incident, law enforcement compelled her to have her blood drawn and tested at a hospital.
Heath said White’s blood-alcohol content registered 0.16, twice the legal limit, but was likely higher than that given her blood was drawn more than four hours after the crash.
While MHP has not yet made a determination as to who caused the incident, McDaniels said there was more than enough probable cause to support the two aggravated DUI charges against White and would bound the matter over to a grand jury.
Camp told 3 On Your Side that it was unusual for state investigators to take four weeks to determine fault in a case like this.
“They have to show that it’s their actions that caused this wreck to occur. If, if it’s not her actions that caused the wreck to occur, then it’s not a felony DUI charge. It can be a DUI, but it’s not a manslaughter DUI because she didn’t cause the actual accident,” Camp said.
Deputy County Prosecutor Yemi Kings argued there were multiple pending DUI charges against White in the past -- which the trooper also corroborated under oath.
Camp said those had been dismissed and the only charges she faced currently were stemming from this case, which Heath later clarified was correct.
A 3 On Your Side investigation found White had a DUI history stretching to at least 2008 -- with the Raymond resident serving house arrest for one, and the other DUI charges dismissed after appeals.
“You can have, you know, DUIs and you can have them dismissed,” Camp said. “It doesn’t mean that there’s a pattern, it doesn’t mean that, you know, the person is sort of guilty of what they’re charged with, until all the facts get, you know, sort of vetted out,” Camp said.
Copyright 2021 WLBT. All rights reserved.