Man charged with manslaughter in fatal accident at Mississippi AFB

BILOXI, Miss. — A Mississippi man was charged with involuntary manslaughter after a motor vehicle accident caused the death of one airman and injured three others, federal authorities said Thursday.

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Emmett J. Bennett, 24, of Biloxi, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and operation of a vehicle while impaired at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi on Wednesday, the FBI said in a news release.

Bennett, who is a civilian contractor at the base, made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Myers in Gulfport on Thursday, the FBI said.

The airman, who was assigned to the 81st Training Wing at Keesler AFB, died at about 1:25 p.m. CDT, WLOX reported.

“The FBI extends our deepest condolences to the family of the Airman who was killed in this tragedy,” Paul Brown, acting special agent in charge of the FBI Jackson Division, said in a statement. “Our thoughts are also with the three Airmen that were injured and the entire Keesler community.”

The FBI has jurisdiction in the incident because the crash occurred on federal property and the contractor is a civilian, the Sun Herald of Biloxi reported.

>> Airman killed, 3 injured in accident at Air Force base in Mississippi

According to the criminal complaint, Bennett was allegedly driving at a high rate of speed and narrowly avoided an accident with another vehicle. After avoiding the accident, Bennett allegedly crossed the northbound lane of a highway on the base and struck a light pole. The vehicle then struck four airmen who were on a walking track, the FBI reported.

Two of the injured men were treated at the Keesler Medical Center, while the third man was taken to a medical facility in New Orleans, WLOX reported. All three men are in stable condition, the television station reported.

The next-of-kin notification has been made, and the name of the deceased airman is being withheld until 24 hours following the notification, according to WLOX.

“This is a tragic accident and loss for the 81st Training Wing and our community,” Col. Bill Hunter, 81st Training Wing commander, told the television station in a statement. “We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our Airmen and we are thinking of and praying for all those involved.”

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