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Mississippi man sentenced to 50 years for DUI wreck killing two teenagers

Joseph Lee Franklin
Photo courtesy of the Simpson County District Attorney's Office

A Mississippi man has been sentenced to decades in prison for killing two teenagers and injuring two others while driving under the influence of methamphetamine.

Joseph Lee Franklin was indicted for a February 12, 2021, motor vehicle accident that occurred around 7:30 a.m. on Highway 43 in Simpson County.

The wreck caused the deaths of two high school seniors — Damion Ford and Eric McKenny — and seriously injured two other unidentified teenagers in the vehicle.

Evidence developed during the investigation by the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol showed that Franklin entered the lane of travel of the teenagers and struck their vehicle head-on.

A blood sample taken pursuant to a search warrant determined that Franklin was under the influence of meth at the time of the accident.

“Franklin’s decision to speed on a wet roadway while under the influence of methamphetamines cut short the lives of two very bright and talented young people and forever changed the lives of their families,” Simpson County District Attorney Chris Hennis said. “I want to thank the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol and specifically the accident reconstruction team made up of troopers Johnathan Smith and Barry Stingley, Jr., for the outstanding investigation conducted in this case.”

Franklin was sentenced to 50 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections with 30 years to serve incarcerated followed by 20 years of supervised post-release supervision for the crime of aggravated driving under the influence causing death.

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