Investigation continues in accident involving district attorney's wife

RIPLEY, TN (WMC-TV) - An accident report indicates alcohol may have been a factor in a weekend car crash that killed the wife of Mid-South prosecutor.

Skid marks and orange spray paint were solemn reminders Monday of a Saturday night accident that killed District Attorney Mike Dunavant's wife, Jackie, and injured her friend.

According to Tennessee Highway Patrol Captain Robert Melton, Dunavant was in the passenger seat of her husband's Lexus when the accident happened. Her friend, Melody Caldwell, was behind the wheel.

Accident investigators said the pair was traveling westbound along Highway 19 just outside Ripley when Dunavant's car slid onto the right shoulder.

"(It) Over corrected, went back across the eastbound lanes off into a culvert, overturned, and trapped both occupants," Melton said.

The official accident report from the Highway Patrol indicates alcohol may have been a factor.  It is something investigators are still trying to determine.

"I haven't seen any facts that drinking was involved, but the officer on the scene gives that statement, and that could be some kind of physical evidence of alcohol," Melton said.

In a written statement, District Attorney Mike Dunavant said "I want to thank everyone for their many calls of support and heartfelt prayers for my family.  We are in shock over the death of my wife Jackie.  I have complete faith in the Highway Patrol in the thorough investigation into Jackie's death."

The accident report states charges are pending the completion of the Tennessee Highway Patrol's investigation.

The accident happened just days after the creation of a new DUI prosecution unit in Tipton and Fayette counties.

Click here to e-mail Justin Hanson.