‘Pray for This County,’ Sheriff Says After 2 Wrecks Kill 11

June 6, 2019 Updated: June 6, 2019

SCOOBA—A Mississippi sheriff is asking for prayers for his community after two wrecks claimed 11 lives in his mostly rural county this week.

Three people were killed and several were injured Wednesday in a wreck involving multiple vehicles, including a school bus with no children aboard, on a highway not far from the scene of another crash that killed eight people two days earlier.

Kemper County Sheriff James Moore described the scene of the wreck as “chaos.” It happened Wednesday afternoon on U.S. Highway 45 south of Scooba.

“I’m asking you to please pray for this county and all of those affected in our county for the last few days,” Moore told WTOK-TV. “That’s a lot of fatalities, and we are asking for everyone to pray for the families that are involved.”

A Mississippi Highway Patrol spokesman, Sgt. Andy West, said a southbound vehicle crossed the highway median and hit three northbound vehicles. A photo from the Macon Beacon newspaper, provided to The Associated Press, showed a white pickup truck with the front crushed and the top ripped back. A photo from the Meridian Star showed two other vehicles that were crushed in the front.

In this photo provided by The Macon Beacon, authorities remove one of several vehicles involved in a fatal crash near Scooba, Miss., on June 5, 2019. (Jeanette Unruh/The Macon Beacon via AP)
Mississippi Highway accident 2
In this photo provided by The Macon Beacon, authorities remove one of several vehicles involved in a fatal crash near Scooba, Miss., on June 5, 2019. (Jeanette Unruh/The Macon Beacon via AP)

Moore said the bus came from the city of Meridian, which is south of the wreck site.

Scooba, with a population of about 695, is near the Alabama state line.

A wreck before dawn Monday killed eight people on Mississippi Highway 16 east of Scooba. That one involved a box truck and a passenger van.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday that it’s sending an investigator to look into technology on the 2020 International Harvester Corp. Box Truck and any potential contributing factors.

Weather isn’t believed to have contributed to the Monday wreck.

West said the eight men killed Monday were Guillermo Lugo, Francisco Lugo, David Lugo, Luis Lugo, Macario Peregrino, Jose Maldonedo, Arnulfo Martinez and Jose Barrera. The Lugos were brothers. All the victims lived in Macon, Mississippi.

Both drivers survived the Monday wreck. The van driver was Alejandro Resendiz, also of Macon. The truck driver was Steven McKinney of Good Hope, Alabama.

Fatal Car Crash Accidents in Mississippi

The highest deaths in fatal car crash accidents on a 100,000 population are in Mississippi, which saw 23.1 such deaths, and the most deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled were in South Carolina, which saw 1.80 such deaths.

The majority of fatal accidents are single-vehicle crashes, the institute noted.

“Dangerous actions such as speeding, distracted driving, and driving under the influence are still putting many Americans, their families and those they share the road with at risk,” said National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Deputy Administrator Heidi King in a statement.

A traffic jam on westbound Interstate 10 (I-10) in New Orleans, La., on Sept. 14, 2018. (Mario Villafuerte/File photo via Getty Images)

“Additionally, we must address the emerging trend of drug-impaired driving to ensure we are reducing traffic fatalities and keeping our roadways safe for the traveling public.”

A preliminary estimate of the first half of 2018 (pdf) showed that an estimated 17,120 people died in car crashes from January through June, which would be a decrease of about 3 percent from the previous year. The statistics indicate the fifth consecutive quarter in which traffic fatalities declined.

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