Jones Co, MS - What began as a routine fire department response to a one-vehicle accident early Friday morning, March 6, turned into a search and rescue involving four volunteer fire departments and two Sheriff’s departments in two counties searching for the location of the crash, and the seriously injured driver.
The initial 911 call, reporting the crash, came into the Wayne County Emergency Operation Center, which transferred the call to the Jones County EOC due to the reported location of the crash.
Shortly after 5 a.m., emergency medical responders and rescue units from Sandersville and Powers Volunteer Fire Departments were dispatched to the report of a vehicle crash on Magnolia Road, just off Highway 84 East, involving a red Ford Ranger pickup. The adult male driver reported to 911 dispatchers that he had crashed into the woods, and possibly had a broken leg.
Firefighters and Jones County Sheriff’s Department deputies searched Magnolia Road and the surrounding area looking for the crash, to no avail. As the incident progressed, the driver advised 911 dispatchers that he had turned around at a lake, taken a turn onto a road, and was unsure if he was now on Highway 84 East, or on a side road. The driver was able to advise that he could see a house across a field with the lights on, and hear traffic passing by, but was not able to pinpoint his location.
At this point, M&M volunteer fire department joined in the search, along with Wayne County VFD Rescue 43 from Pleasant Grove. While 911 dispatchers worked diligently to locate the cell phone’s GPS location, volunteer fire units and deputies from Jones and Wayne counties began a road by road search with Jones County units searching from the city limits of Laurel, heading east, and Wayne County units starting in the Pleasant Grove area, and heading west. A rescue truck was directed to engage its siren, and drive along Highway 84 East to see if the driver could hear the siren.
At 5:56 a.m., with search units fanned out all along Highway 84 East conducting a road by road search, Wayne County Rescue 43 located the crashed pickup, with the driver inside, just inside the Jones County Line on Shorty Smith Road – over six miles from where the search on Magnolia Road initially began.
Deputies, emergency medical responders, and fire units converged on the area, and the seriously injured driver was rescued from the pickup, which had crashed into a tree. The driver was transported by EMServ Ambulance Service to South Central Regional Medical Center in Laurel for treatment of serious injuries including a compound fracture of the leg.
The identity of the driver is being withheld until notification of family members. The accident is under investigation by the Jones County Sheriff’s Department.
By Linda Cranford, Jones County Fire Service PIO