HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Five accidents occurred on I-59 Wednesday, all within the same area, and all after traffic slowed to a crawl following a police accident reconstruction.
"We had a sign put out to warn people that we had it down to one lane," said Lt. John Traxler, Public Information Officer with the Hattiesburg Police Department. Officials with the department were conducting an accident reconstruction, he said, and when asked if that may have led to the string of accidents on I-59 Traxler said, "That's the only thing we can think. We don't know yet, that's why it is under investigation."
Two of the five accidents occurred on Interstate 59 south and three on Interstate 59 north.
The first occurred shortly before 10 a.m. when several vehicles collided on I-59 south. Witnesses on the scene said the accident occurred because traffic was stopped ahead of the incident. Four people were transported to a local hospital.
The second happened when a woman smashed into the rear of an 18-wheeler on I-59 north. The woman's vehicle was destroyed, but the 18-wheeler suffered only a dent. Witnesses said her right arm was nearly severed. Other drivers left their vehicles and gave assistance, along with Hattiesburg police, while waiting on an ambulance to arrive. Traffic in the northbound lane had slowed to a crawl following the first accident near exit 65 in the southbound lane around 11 a.m., and this accident occurred in the northbound lane about one mile south of the accident that occurred in the southbound lane.
The fourth happened on I-59 north and involved four vehicles at around noon. Two people were transported to a local hospital.
The fifth occurred under Hardy Street, on I-59 south, and involved an RV, an 18-wheeler, and an SUV, at around 12:45 p.m.
All five accidents occurred within four hours, and a total of seven people were transported to a hospital.