The driver who fled the scene of a crash that led to the death of three Lucedale siblings and seriously injured the children’s mother pleaded not guilty to felony charges following his indictment Monday.
Jesse Edward Dickerson, 24, was indicted on three counts of second-degree murder for allegedly causing the March 25, 2017, crash that killed three siblings and seriously injured their mother.
At the time of the crash, authorities initially arrested him on three counts of felony fleeing causing death and one count of felony fleeing causing injuries.
Killed were first-grader Sierra Jean Dixon, 7, and fourth-grader Terra Dixon, 9, both Central Elementary, and their brother, Spencer Havard, 16, a student at George County High School at the time.
Their mother, Jackie Dixon, was a passenger in the car with him and her children and she suffered serious injuries.
On Monday, Dickerson told Circuit Judge Dale Harkey he didn’t know if he could afford an attorney to represent him because he had not had a chance to speak to anyone in his family.
He initially told the judge he didn’t know he had been indicted but then realized the paperwork he’d been handed earlier was the indictment.
Dickerson has remained in jail on a total bond of $1 million since his arrest a day after the wreck.
According to authorities, a total of six passengers, all from Lucedale, were in the 2003 Kia Optima and were not wearing restraints when the wreck happened on Mississippi 198 shortly before 4 p.m.
After the car hit a sign at the Mississippi Furniture Warehouse, Dickerson got out of the car and ran.
All but two of the passengers suffered injuries, but were treated at a hospital and released.
The two youngest children who died were riding in the back seat, one of them on the floorboard of the car, and their brother was in the front seat.
Their mother also was in the back seat.
According to the Mississippi Highway Patrol, Dickerson was headed east when the car went off the left side of the highway and hit the sign.
After the crash, Dickerson said he loved all the children.
He was tearful when he made the statement, saying “ ‘All I can remember is waking up in the woods.’ ”
Dickerson’s brother, Chris Baxter, is serving life in prison for the July 2010 death of former George County Sheriff Garry Welford. Baxter and then-girlfriend Brandy Williams led deputies on a chase until their pickup truck struck and killed Welford.