FBI arrests civilian contractor that killed Airman on Keesler Air Force Base

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On Thursday, 24-year-old Emmett J. Bennett was charged with involuntary manslaughter and operation of a vehicle while impaired causing death.(Harrison County Sheriff’s Department)

Patrick Magee

The Sun Herald

The FBI announced Thursday that a civilian contractor has been taken into custody and charged following a fatal vehicle wreck that involved pedestrians Wednesday afternoon on Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi.

Emmett J. Bennett, a 24-year-old from Biloxi, was charged Thursday with involuntary manslaughter and operation of a vehicle while impaired causing death following a wreck that killed an Airman and injured three others.

According to the FBI release, Bennett was driving south on Ploesti Drive on Keesler Air Force Base shortly after 1 p.m. Wednesday. Bennett is alleged to have driven at a high rate of speed, narrowly avoiding an accident with another vehicle. Bennett then allegedly crossed the northbound lane of Ploesti Drive and struck a light pole. The vehicle then struck four Airmen while they were walking on a walking track, killing one and injuring the others.

Witnesses told investigators that Bennett was acting in an erratic manner prior to the wreck, the FBI said.

The FBI has jurisdiction in the incident because the wreck took place on federal property and the contractor is a civilian.

“The FBI extends our deepest condolences to the family of the Airman who was killed in this tragedy,” Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jackson Division, Paul Brown, said in a statement. “Our thoughts are also with the three Airmen that were injured and the entire Keesler community.”

Bennett made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Myers in Gulfport on Thursday.

Also involved in the investigation are the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Air Force Security Offices and the Biloxi Police Department.

The identity of the Airman who died has not yet been released.

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