Area man charged with vehicular homicide

Friday, January 31, 2003

Mark Allen Richards, of the Black Oak Community, was charged with three counts of vehicular homicide, reckless driving and driving on a suspended driver's license as the result of an automobile accident with several fatalities in Memphis on Friday. His bond was set at $350,000.

Richards remains in custody after his request for a bond reduction was denied during a hearing in a Memphis court on Wednesday.

Three people, including an 8-year-old boy from Texas, were killed when Richards' car crashed into a van and some of its passengers on the Hernando DeSoto Bridge over the Mississippi River.

The family was traveling to Camp Lejeune, N.C., to say goodbye to Ricardo Rivero, a Marine about to leave for Kuwait.

The blue Ford minivan with Oklahoma license plates had stopped on the bridge near the Front Street exit of eastbound Interstate 40 at about 3:45 p.m. Friday.

"They heard a noise and thought they had car trouble," said Henry Posey of the Memphis Fire Department.

Some of the passengers were standing on the bridge when Richards' gray Plymouth Reliant struck them and the van. Dakota Rivero, 8, was thrown over the bridge's rail and landed on the banks of Mud Island. A bystander recovered the body.

"The scene was pretty chaotic when we got there," Posey said.

Killed were Rivero, of Jasper, Texas; Jason Doyeto, 27; and his wife Judith Doyeto, 32, both of Stillwater, Okla.

At least six people have been killed on or approaching the Hernando DeSoto Bridge during the past six years, with stalled vehicles usually a factor.

A preliminary hearing has been set for Feb. 14. At that time, officials said traffic investigators should have the results from Richards' blood test.

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