MARION COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Two men died following a crash on Tuesday just before 9 p.m. in Marion County. Troopers with the Mississippi Highway Patrol responded to US 98 near C and S Road to investigate the scene.
Upon arrival, troopers found a 2013 Chevrolet passenger vehicle driven by 40-year-old Kevin Allen. The Jackson native ran off the shoulder of the road causing his vehicle to overturn and hit trees nearby. There were three passengers in the vehicle, including Damian Swarptue, of Hattiesburg, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
"This will never be a happy day for us from this day forward," said Roderick Brent, the brother of Damian Swarptue.
The two other passengers were taken to Forrest General Hospital with what authorities said were moderate injuries. Twenty-year-old Tykevious Durr, of Hattiesburg, survived the accident, but 22-year-old Lacurtis Floyd, of McComb, died shortly after arriving at the hospital.
According to the Mississippi Highway Patrol, another vehicle accident involving a Marion County Sheriff's Office car happened at the same location. Officials said the deputy ran off the left shoulder of the road, causing the vehicle to overturn. The deputy was taken to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries.
The Mississippi Highway Patrol did not link both accidents, but the Marion County Sheriff's Office said in a news release that both vehicle crashes stemmed from a safety checkpoint that led to a high-speed chase. The checkpoint was located in the area of 198 West in Columbia.
Officials said the driver of the vehicle, Allen, was seen driving recklessly to avoid the checkpoint, ultimately fleeing onto Highway 98 West. At that point, Columbia Police Department officers pursued Allen with assistance from a Marion County Sheriff's Office deputy.
The chase led them to the Kokomo community, which is when the deputy and officers tried to get in front of Allen's vehicle in an effort to clear a pathway for the pursuit, but when they Marion County Sheriff's Office deputy tried to pass the vehicle, officials said the suspect's vehicle struck it, resulting in both cars swerving out of control.
"My baby was thrown into a tree. I was at the scene and they sent me away to the hospital and said follow the ambulance," said Rolanda Swarptue, Damian's mother.
Authorities said they found multiple firearms that had recently been fired in the vehicle, along with possible narcotic paraphernalia.
"The time this was happening, my brother was on the phone telling the person he was talking to they are trying to run us off the road, they just hit us, they are trying to run us off the road," Brent said.
The Mississippi Highway Patrol is investigating the crash while any criminal investigation will be handled by the Marion County Sheriff's Office.
"Everybody who knows Damian knows that he was a fun loving person," Brent said. "You'll never see this man in a bad mood."