Search for driver underway after Pearl River Co. teen seriously injured by car

Search for driver underway after Pearl River Co. teen seriously injured by car

PICAYUNE, Miss. (WLOX) - A Picayune teenager was critically injured when he was hit by a vehicle Tuesday morning, officials said.

Authorities said Tuesday morning that they were looking for the vehicle involved in the hit-and-run. Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department released surveillance photos taken from cameras on a school bus that showed an SUV.

Authorities are looking for this vehicle for questioning after a 17-year-old was hit Tuesday morning while getting on a school bus.
Authorities are looking for this vehicle for questioning after a 17-year-old was hit Tuesday morning while getting on a school bus. (Source: Pearl River Co. Sheriff Dept.)

As of Tuesday afternoon, the sheriff’s office said they have located that vehicle but have not said whether or not it was involved in the hit-and-run, only saying initially that they were looking for the vehicle to question the driver.

Picayune School District Supervisor said the accident did not involve the school bus that provided the video, and the accident did not happen while students were loading onto a bus. Area residents said numerous students live along Jackson Landing Road and board school busses on the road.

17-year-old Gavin Miller was walking along Jackson Landing Road south of Picayune to meet a friend at their school bus stop when he was struck by the car. He had texted that he would be there in five minutes, but he never arrived. Instead, his friend saw him lying in the ditch being treated by paramedics as the school bus passed. Miller was found in the ditch across the street from New Life Baptist Church near Sam Powell Road. The driver that hit Miller did not stop.

Gavin Miller was found in the ditch across from New Life Baptist Church on Jackson Landing Road south of Picayune.
Gavin Miller was found in the ditch across from New Life Baptist Church on Jackson Landing Road south of Picayune. (Source: John Fitzhugh)

According to Investigator Mark Ogden with the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department, the accident happened between 6:30-6:50 a.m.

Miller was airlifted to a hospital in Jackson in critical condition. The boy’s grandmother, Beverly Miller, said Gavin was in stable condition Tuesday afternoon with internal injuries and a head injury.

Authorities are looking for this vehicle for questioning after a 17-year-old was hit Tuesday morning while getting on a school bus.
Authorities are looking for this vehicle for questioning after a 17-year-old was hit Tuesday morning while getting on a school bus. (Source: Pearl River Co. Sheriff Dept.)

“We would like to interview the driver and passengers in this vehicle to find out if they witnessed anything,” Ogden said Tuesday morning. Later in the afternoon, he said investigators were interviewing several people, but no arrests have been made.

Area residents said speeding cars are a constant danger on the road.

“Cars, they come up through here, some of them do 60-70-80 miles an hour, just flying,” said Jackson Landing Road resident Aliesha Durapau. “And I’ve reported it, several people have reported it. Nothing’s been done.”

The road is in an unincorporated area of the county, and state law prohibits sheriff’s deputies from using radar to monitor speed. That law was passed in 1972 to prevent abusive speed traps. Legislators have tried without success to repeal the law numerous times, including in the 2020 legislative session.

“Something needs to be done,” Durapau said. “This kid got hit, he’s stable from what we hear, but something should have been done about that before it happened.”

Residents said Miller is one of many children who walk or ride their bikes along the narrow, winding road.

“I often see Gavin and other children walking down the street or riding their bikes,” said Pamela Williams, who lives next door to Durapau. “I think that we need to get some kind of sidewalks for the children who want to ride their bikes or want to walk.”

Anyone with information about this hit-and-run is asked to contact Mississippi Crime Stoppers. Anonymous tips can be made online or by calling 601-798-5528.

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