Man pleads guilty to DUI in crash that killed 2 Miss. firefighters
Sumrall Firefighters Clinton Beasley and Loretta Sykes were killed in the line of duty when they were struck by Brandon Eaton in 2017
By Laura French
SUMRALL, Miss. — A Mississippi man has pleaded guilty to three counts of felony DUI after a crash that killed two firefighters in the line of duty.
Brandon Chance Eaton, 34, struck Sumrall Volunteer Firefighters Clinton Alvin Beasley, 80, and Loretta Ann "Lorrie" Sykes, 53, as they were directing traffic around another crash in March 2017, according to the Hattiesburg American. Beasley and Sykes were killed as a result of the crash, and Firefighter Shawn Huhn was also injured.
Eaton fled the scene after the crash, according to police, and was later arrested and indicted on three counts of aggravated DUI and one count of leaving the scene of an accident causing death.
Toxicology reports showed that Eaton was impaired at the time of the crash.
Eaton pleaded guilty on Monday to three counts of felony DUI, with each count carrying a maximum sentence of 30 years. The district attorney recommended he be sentenced to 60 years and required to serve at least 30 years in prison with credit for time served.
“It’s such a shame – what a tragedy – to have life lost by such a careless act and such a preventable act,” District Attorney Hall Kittrell told the Hattiesburg American. “There’s no way the sentence can bring (the families’) loved ones back or make up for the hurt that they have.”
Beasley had served as a volunteer firefighter for 47 years and had a fire station named after him on his 40th anniversary of service.
Sykes had been a volunteer firefighter in the area for two years and had dedicated herself to community service since high school, according to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.