MSU student charged in roommate's death

September 18, 2013 9:54:35 AM

Carl Smith - [email protected]


A single-vehicle accident at McDonald's Tuesday killed a Mississippi State University freshman and landed the truck's driver, who was also the victim's roommate, behind bars. 


Details about the incident were scarce at press time -- Starkville Police Department representatives declined to comment on the situation due to the nature of the ongoing investigation -- but SPD and Oktibbeha County Coroner Michael Hunt both confirmed Kaleb Dwayne Barker, 18, of Lucedale, died as a result of injuries suffered about 2:05 a.m. Tuesday at the Miss. Highway 12 and Spring Street fast food location. 


SPD Chief David Lindley confirmed Barker was initially riding in the truck's bed at the time of the incident but could not confirm how the victim was injured. An autopsy was scheduled for this morning. 


The driver of the 2003 Chevrolet Silverado, Sawyer Tomas Steede, 18, also of Lucedale, was arrested and charged with aggravated DUI. He was released on a $50,000 bond Tuesday. Steede will appear in Starkville Municipal Court on Oct. 21. 


Another passenger in the pickup's bed, Halli Camille Reasons, of Dyersburg, Tenn., was injured in the incident. She was transported to OCH Regional Medical Center for minor injuries and later released. 


MSU University Relations Director Sid Salter confirmed Barker, Steede and Reasons were all freshmen at the school and lived at Rice Hall. Barker and Steede, he said, were roommates. 


Hunt said Barker was first taken to OCH but was then airlifted to University Medical Center in Jackson. He said the victim was pronounced dead en route about five hours after the accident. 


"The Mississippi State University family is heartbroken today over this very tragic accident," said MSU President Mark Keenum in a Tuesday release. "Kaleb was a young man with a great deal of promise. We feel a deep sense of grief, and our thoughts and prayers will remain with Kaleb's family and his many friends in Lucedale and here at MSU." 


It is unknown how many passengers, besides Barker, Steede and Reasons, were in the vehicle at the time of the accident.

Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch