Man to serve 30 years for death of Sumrall firefighters

By HASKEL BURNS,

The man responsible for the hit-and-run accident that killed two Sumrall volunteer firefighters and injured another in early 2017 will serve 30 years in prison after pleading guilty Monday to three counts of aggravated DUI.

Fifteenth Circuit District Attorney Hal Kittrell said 34-year-old Brandon Chance Eaton of Sumrall was sentenced to 20 years on each count of aggravated DUI, with 10 years to serve to run consecutively.

“What that in fact means was that he got 60 years with 30 to serve,” Kittrell said. “There was a count for leaving the scene of an accident, which was dropped for the plea on the two deaths and the injury.

“That plea and sentencing was done in connection with, and in consultation with, the victims’ families. I think they were agreeable with the years he got.”

On March 15, 2017, two Sumrall firefighters – 80-year-old Clinton Alvin Beasley and 53-year-old Loretta Ann Sykes – were directing traffic at a dump truck accident at the intersection of Mississippi 589 and Oloh Road when the vehicle driven by Eaton struck them at the site. Beasley and Sykes were pronounced dead at the scene by Lamar County Coroner Cody Creel.

A third Sumrall firefighter, Shawn Huhn, was also struck. He was transported to the hospital with cracked ribs and later released.

“It’s a tragic event,” Kittrell said. “Unfortunately, DUIs are preventable crimes. No one goes out to kill someone when they drink, but in fact, they do, and this is the tragic consequence of an action taken by Mr. Eaton.

“My heart goes out to the families – I know that there’s no amount of time that I could give the families to return their family members and put them back to the health that they were in prior to this accident. But it’s all I had available to do as district attorney, and I want to thank my assistant DAs for working on this and coordinating with the families, and my victims’ assistance coordinator for working with the families.”

Lamar County Sheriff Danny Rigel said Eaton was traveling down Mississippi 589 away from the Sumrall area when the crash occurred.

“When (the driver) saw the road was blocked, he swerved to the right to go down Oloh Road,” Rigel said in a previous story. “The firefighters were standing in the grassy median between the two roads. He struck all three of them and continued south on Oloh Road.”

Eaton was arrested at a residence about six miles away from the site of the accident.

“He was on a man’s front porch off of Scruggs Road,” Rigel said. “The man called 911 when he saw the vehicle and he saw the man on the porch. Deputies got over there and placed him under arrest.”