A wild scramble followed a disturbance on Duncan Road in Caledonia late Saturday night. Around 11:00 pm, a Lowndes County resident called 911 to report what appeared to be a party near her residence on Duncan Road. The caller told dispatchers that she was attempting to block several vehicles in with her car until Lowndes County Deputies could arrive on scene. According to the caller, one of the vehicles, a silver Toyota truck occupied by several teenagers, forced it’s way past her, hitting her car in the process. Deputies and Caledonia Town Marshals scoured the area for the truck.
Meanwhile, officers with the Lowndes Sheriff’s Office responded to the area of the party, where several juveniles were being blocked from leaving. Citations were issued concerning underage drinking and possession of alcohol by minors while the parents of the juveniles were contacted to come take custody of their children.
Minutes after the initial incident, Caledonia Town Marshal Lance Luckey spotted the silver Toyota speeding through Caledonia. He quickly initiated a stop with the truck on Lawrence Bridge Road. The driver of the truck (identified on scene as Seth Dement) crossed the Lawrence Bridge, striking another car in the process, and finally came to a stop in front of the first house once he crossed into Monroe County.
Once the truck was stopped, Marshal Luckey detained Dement and his three passengers and searched the vehicle. Inside the cab, he found several open containers, including beer and liquor bottles. The driver was placed under arrest and later transported to the Lowndes County Adult Detention Center. The passengers of the vehicle were released to their parents. All four youths are from the Hamilton area.
Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputies were called to the scene to assist with the arrests and to take a report on the wreck over the Lawrence Bridge.
Seth Dement, who recently turned 18, was charged with DUI, Reckless Driving and Failure to Yield to Blue Lights. Dement is a star athlete for the Hamilton Lions, both on the baseball diamond and the football field. As pitcher and catcher, he was selected to participate in the State Games of Mississippi on the All-Star Baseball team that represented District 1 in June in Meridian, MS. In the fall’s football season, Dement took up the reins as quarterback leading the Lions to a disappointing 4-8 season.[While I was at the arrest, several members of the neighborhood approached me to protest the youths’ inclusion in The Packet. When it became clear that the story would not pass beneath the watchful eye of The Packet, the complainants turned to insults and threats. Following are some highlights:
• “You need to leave those kids alone. You don’t understand that, so you obviously don’t have kids.”
• “Why are you taking pictures? You don’t know that they’ve committed a crime!” (At this point, the teens were already in custody, and the open containers were sitting on the toolbox of the truck.)
• “I know Miss ******* that works at the Packet. I’ll just call her and this won’t go in the paper!”
• “Man, I had to go put up my dog. He wants out REAL bad. Why don’t you just go on now?” (When told that I would leave when the officers left the scene) “Man, you’re a sh*t! I’m gonna stand right next to you. You won’t get no pictures.” (The man gave up after about two minutes and walked away to talk to other local residents.)
At one point, two local women asked a passing Monroe County Deputy (who took the report for the wreck) to tell me to leave. Regrettably, I did not get the deputy’s name.
• Deputy: “What paper are you from?”
JD: “The Columbus Packet.”
Deputy: “Nah, this is Monroe County. You aren’t taking any photos.”
Whenever there are minors involved in arrests, we at The Packet receive numerous complaints that we are not allowed to take photos of minors. As we always point out, it is not illegal for the press to take photos of minors, nor is it against the law for us to print their names. When a juvenile is arrested, that only means that law enforcement officers cannot give us their names.
In regards to anyone who would like us to “take it easy” on youthful offenders: Seth Dement was charged for driving while drunk. This story could have had a much darker ending. It is quite possible that Lance Luckey saved these teenagers’ lives, especially when you consider the speed they were travelling at while trying to escape Lowndes County. I, personally, think it’s despicable that the local residents would defend a drunk driver of any age. If the teens had caused damage to their property, these complainants would be the first in line to crucify Dement.
Every year in Mississippi, there are over 200 deaths due to intoxicated drivers. Seth Dement and his passengers were very lucky to not be a part of that statistic. – JD]
The party on Duncan Road is still under investigation. Charges are expected to be filed against the adult(s) that supplied the minors with alcohol.0