Man Receives 25 Years for the DUI Death of a 15-Year-Old Girl

For Immediate Release
July 17, 2008
For more information, please contact
Michael Guest at (601) 825-1472

Madison and Rankin Counties’ District Attorney Michael Guest announced today that Jason Thornton was sentenced to 25 years for the DUI death of 15-year-old Teressa Sanders. Ten years will be suspended and Thornton will be under supervised probation for five years.

In June 2007, the Richland Police Department responded to a call regarding a one car accident. According to witnesses, a vehicle, driven by Jason Thornton, passed them at a high rate of speed. Thornton then lost control of the vehicle, flipping several times, ejecting him and landing the vehicle upside down in a ditch full of water.

When law enforcement arrived at the scene they asked the driver, Jason Thornton, if he had any passengers, and he denied that he did. Emergency personnel checked the defendant’s vehicle and located Teressa Sanders trapped in the vehicle. Fire and law enforcement officials worked to remove Ms. Sanders from the vehicle, which had filled with water after landing in the ditch. CPR was performed at the scene, but Teressa Sanders was later pronounced dead and the cause of death was ruled a drowning.

Jason Thornton admitted to drinking, and a blood test later determined that his blood alcohol level was above the legal limit.

Guest stated, “Teressa Sanders is dead today because the defendant decided to break the law and drink and drive. Teressa was not a statistic, but she was someone’s daughter whose life has been taken away by trusting a drunk driver to get her home safely.”

Guest concluded, “I hope this case will remind people of the many reasons not to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”