Harrison County

Police chief's daughter was to be married in a few weeks (Updated 1:40 p.m.)

GULFPORT — Police are asking to speak with any witnesses who saw the crash that caused the death of DeAnna Tucker, who died after being pinned between two vehicles as she was putting her son in the car on Tuesday night.

Lt. Leonard Papania said if anyone saw the crash, the Gulfport Police would like to speak to them. They can call investigators at 868-5959.

Tucker, the 29-year-old daughter of Gulfport Police Chief Alan Weatherford, died late Tuesday after she was struck by a suspected drunken driver while she was putting her child in a car seat in a bridal shop parking lot at 1524 Pass Road, authorities and family friends said.

Darrell Edward Blappert Jr., 26, has been charged with DUI causing the death of Tucker, who authorities said was pinned between her vehicle and the one driven by Blappert at about 5:15 p.m.

Tucker was to be married April 23, said family friend Alfred Sexton, a former Gulfport deputy police chief, who was at Weatherford's home this morning. Tucker was struck in the parking lot of Bridal and Formal Boutique.

Blappert, of the 18000 block of Robinson Road, was held at the Harrison County jail on $1 million bond. Police initially arrested him on a charge of DUI causing serious injuries. After Tucker died, they upgraded the charge. DUI causing a death is punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove said Tucker died at Memorial Hospital about six hours after the crash.

Witnesses reported a 2004 Mustang was westbound on Pass Road and was speeding when the driver lost control and entered a parking lot near 15th Street, Deputy Chief of Police Leonard Papania said Tuesday night. Tucker had just put her child in her 2010 Honda Accord.

The child was not injured. Family friends told the Sun Herald the boy is 4 years old.

A Gulfport police spokesman confirmed police officials called in the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and a Biloxi Police Department accident reconstructionist to handle the investigation.

The Sun Herald updates this story as new information becomes available.

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