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Heartbroken Native American mom and dad to bury their brood – FIVE children all under 10 – during single, tragic funeral this week following shocking Mississippi car accident
Incident occurred Saturday, shortly after midnight on County Rd. 107
Six die after SUV plunges into rain-swollen creek
Mom and dad survive accident, only to face heartbreak of losing five kids
Father, who drove Dodge Durango, remains hospitalized
Alcohol testing results to be released same day as funeral
'This accident is not weather-related at all,' says sheriff
Vehicle's nine occupants are Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
23:34 GMT, 30 December 2012
Unthinkable tragedy: Among the dead was Dianne Chickaway, 37, whose husband, Dale, survived the horrific crash that, in all, killed six people
The heartbroken mother and father of the five Native Americans – all under 10 years old – killed in a Mississippi car accident Saturday will bury their brood during a single, tragic funeral this week.
Misty Dreifuss, a Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians spokeswoman – all six dead belong to the tribe – said the children's funeral will be held Wednesday at a tribal building in Choctaw.
A wake for the siblings was planned for Monday, she said.
'It has hit the community very hard,' Dreifuss told the AP of the 10,000-member tribe, one of three federally-recognized groups of Choctaw Indians in the U.S.
A funeral for Dianne Chickaway, a 37-year-old friend of the children's family, meanwhile, is scheduled for Thursday at Hopewell Baptist Church in Leake County, according to Dreifuss.
The crash's cause remains under investigation, and no charges have been filed. A Mississippi Highway Patrol crash reconstruction team was reportedly going to visit the scene Sunday.
Neshoba County Sheriff Tommy Waddell said the victims apparently drowned after their Dodge Durango swerved off County Rd. 107 shortly after midnight Saturday, plunged down an embankment and into a fast-moving, rain-swollen creek, located 20 miles southeast of the Mississippi city of Philadelphia.
Fateful stretch: Five siblings – all under nine – were killed, along with an adult, when the vehicle their father was driving swerved off County Road 107 (pictured) in eastern Mississippi just after midnight Saturday
A tribe in mourning: A member of the North American Choctaw tribe – to which the six dead belong – dances during a three-day visit to Peru in 2003
Duane John, the siblings' father who was driving the Dodge Durango, remained hospitalized for hypothermia and water inhalation. Mother, Deanna Jim, and
Chickaway's husband, Dale Chickaway, also survived.
Authorities said they performed
alcohol testing on Duane John, but that results would not be
publicly revealed until at least Wednesday, the same day as the children's funeral. Despite the recent rainfall
and the winter storms sweeping the country, officials said they are confident inclement conditions did not cause the wreck.
The Dodge Durango swerved off County Road 107, near the Neshoba-Newton county line, down an embankment and into a rain-swollen river
'This accident is not weather-related at all,' Waddell told The AP.
'It looked like he has just run off
the road and went into the water,' Deputy County Coroner Marshall Prince
added to the AP. 'It was deep and swift. The vehicle was completely
identified the deceased children as Daisyanna John, 9; Duane John, 8;
Bobby John, 7; Quinton John, 4; and Kekambas John, 18 months
old. In all, the doomed Durango counted nine occupants, none of whom were apparently wearing seat belts or child
restraints at the time of the accident, officials said.
Four of the five children attended Pearl River Elementary School, Dreifuss told The AP.
Phyliss J. Anderson, tribal chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is sworn in 2011. The tribe resides in the Pearl River community east of the Mississippi city of Philadelphia
One of three federally-recognized Choctaw tribes, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians operates a large casino complex on its tribal grounds
'It's always sad to hear of the death
of a tribal member,' Tribal Chief Phyliss J. Anderson wrote in a
statement obtained by the AP. 'But today our tribe experienced …the loss of six beautiful
'I cannot begin to imagine what the
friends, relatives and loved ones are feeling. There are no words that
can express our sincere condolences to such a horrific accident.
many of you in the outpouring display of love and support shown to the
families during this difficult time,' Anderson added. 'Our thoughts and prayers are with
The Mississippi Band of Choctaw
Indians resides in the Pearl River community east of the Mississippi
city of Philadelphia, where it operates a large casino complex.