Hurley woman impaired by drugs when her car struck, killed toddler, injured others

Carissa McCary
Carissa McCary

PASCAGOULA -- A Hurley woman was under the influence of prescription drugs when she swerved into another lane and hit a pickup truck head-on, killing a 4-year-old and seriously injuring four others, including her own child.

Court records show Carissa Dawn McCary, 40, tested positive for benzodiazepines -- a class of prescription drugs which includes Xanax -- and methadone, an opioid used as a pain reliever to reduce withdrawal symptoms associated with addiction to narcotics, including heroin.

A Jackson County grand jury indicted McCary on felony DUI causing the November 2012 death of 4-year-old Darren Gaspard Jr., of Starks, Louisiana.

In addition, the grand jury indicted McCary on three other counts of felony DUI causing the disfigurement of three others in the Gaspard family, and one count of felony child endangerment resulting in serious injuries to McCary's teenager.

The accident occurred about 9:15 p.m. on Nov. 28, 2012, in front of Sassy's Restaurant in Hurley.

According to authorities, McCary drifted into the eastbound lanes and struck the Gaspards, who had just pulled onto the highway from the Greer's supermarket parking lot.

McCary's Toyota Camry hit head-on the Dodge Dakota pickup driven by Darren Gaspard, 24.

The 4-year-old was thrown from the truck, and Darren Gaspard died a day later at the University of South Alabama Medical Center in Mobile.

Other passengers seriously injured were 8-month-old William Gaspard and Jessica Gaspard, 25.

The Mississippi Highway Patrol investigated the case.

McCary first made headlines in June 2009, when her mother tipped off authorities to a portable meth lab in a shed she shared with her daughter. Her mother told police officers then her daughter was hanging out with the wrong people. McCary and her boyfriend were arrested on meth manufacturing charges in the case.

When she was arrested in the DUI death case, McCary was on probation for a previous conviction of possession of meth precursors.