FORREST COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - A one-vehicle accident on Interstate-59 in Forrest County late Saturday afternoon killed one person and injured 13. Highway Patrol Public Information Officer Todd Miller said the accident was caused after the left from wheel of the Freightliner RV blew out, causing the vehicle to veer off the road and into a tree.
Two passengers were ejected from the vehicle and one was trapped inside when officers arrived.
Darryl Bernard Parker of Riverdale, Georgia was killed in the accident. Parker had been sitting in the third position on the right side when the accident occurred. He had just celebrated his 50 birthday last week. Another passenger is still in critical condition.
The RV left the road just north of the Evelyn Gandy Parkway exit and struck a tree. Officials said the vehicle - carrying 14 people - was apparently en route to the Bowl Championship Series championship football game in New Orleans when the wreck happened about 4:30 p.m.
It took officers six hours to clear the wreck. Some lanes of the interstate were blocked as all the injured were transported by either ground or air ambulances to local hospitals.
"Mass casualty incidents are when more than seven people are injured and it's very unusual to have one this large," said Tommy MacDermott, public information officer for North Forrest Volunteer Fire Dept. "But, North Forrest firefighters immediately realized that and transmitted to Triple-A (Ambulance), who put their M.C.I. (Mass Casualty Incident) plan in action and called for assistance and took care of the situation very quickly," MacDermott said.
In addition to several ground ambulances, helicopters from both Triple-A Ambulance and Baptist Life-Flight responded to the scene.
"A vehicle like that - an RV, they're a good sized vehicle and so it's probably people, probably people didn't check their equipment out. It's just something that's probably not used very much. And if you don't use it, equipment will eventually start to wear away and ruin," said Todd Miller, Mississippi Highway Patrol public information officer.