June 22, 2018

Man Gets 18 Years for Killing Pregnant Girlfriend in Car Crash

District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that, after pleading guilty, Matthew Oneal, Sr., (26) of Picayune  was sentenced to 18 years in prison Wednesday (June 20, 2018) for vehicular homicide and third degree feticide in the deaths of his girlfriend and their unborn child in a one-vehicle crash on I-59 in Pearl River three years ago. District Judge Richard A. Swartz, Jr., this was a "tragic situation" and that any lesser sentence would deprecate the serious nature of the offenses.
The 19-year-old victim was eight months pregnant when she and the couple's two-year-old were in a SUV being operated by Oneal on the night of February 29, 2015. Oneal crossed the center line, struck a tree on the opposite side of the road and ended up in a ditch. The victim was killed instantly. The 2-year-old was secured in a car seat and did not suffer any serious injuries. Oneal attempted to flee after the accident, leaving his family at the scene. He was apprehended by good Samaritans on the scene. His blood tested positive for synthetic cannabinoids.
The victim grandmother gave a victim impact statement to the court prior to sentencing. The grandmother said that although the victim's life ended that night "on the side of the road in a wet ditch," for her family, especially her surviving child, this tragedy continues. "We have to live with what happened that night for the rest of our lives," she said. The defendant also gave a statement, apologizing for his actions. He said he misses the victim every day.

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