April 11, 2014 10:32:34 AM
Carl Smith - [email protected]
The Mississippi Supreme Court denied a review of Joshua Buckner's 2009 drunken driving case in which he pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated DUI and one count of leaving the scene of an accident.
Eight of the court's nine justices denied his writ of certiorari on April 3 after counsel argued the multiple convictions created a double jeopardy situation. The denial was filed by the court clerk Thursday.
Buckner was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2009 after admitting to driving under the influence. Online court records show an appeals process began in 2012. The court affirmed the previous decision a year later.
On April 26, 2008, Buckner left a party with three passengers -- Charlsey Collins, David Wilkerson Jr. and Joanna Morgan -- to purchase cigarettes, he testified that year in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court. He crashed his Jeep into a light pole located on Mississippi State University's campus.
Wilkerson and Morgan were seriously injured, The Dispatch previously reported, and Collins was later pronounced dead at OCH Regional Medical Center.
A MSU detective testified Buckner left the scene of the accident, cut through a wooded area and returned to the party. There, he changed clothes, attempted to disguise the smell of alcohol with mints, and told party-goers he wrecked his vehicle, an assistant district attorney said in 2009, but made no mention of the injured passengers.
Three hours after the wreck, Buckner's blood alcohol level was measured at .11, according to testimony.
Buckner and Collins had been friends since the sixth grade, he testified.
"I was just so scared. I didn't know how to react in a situation like that," he said in 2009.
Buckner was released from the Mississippi Department of Corrections' Regimented Inmate Discipline Program -- he was previously charged with identity theft -- eight days prior to the 2008 accident, The Dispatch previously reported.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch