Jones County, MS - Shortly after 11 p.m. Monday night, September 14, Jones County 911 Dispatchers began receiving reports of a vehicle traveling south in the northbound lane of Interstate 59. Before law enforcement officers could get the vehicle stopped, it collided head-on with an 18-Wheeler; seriously injuring the male driver.
At 11:17 p.m., rescue units and emergency medical responders with Laurel Fire Department, and Powers, Sandersville, and Glade Volunteer Fire Departments responded to the accident which occurred on the Tallahalla Bridge near Exit 99 of I-59 just outside the City Limits of Laurel.
Upon arrival, rescue personnel found a Nissan Maxima GLE wedged under the box trailer of a Werner Enterprise 18-Wheeler up to the windshield of the car. Although seriously injured, the driver was not pinned in his vehicle and was out of the vehicle when rescue personnel arrived. Rescue personnel also searched the nearby area for any additional victims, and none were found.
According to Mississippi Highway Patrol Troop J Public Affairs Officer Brent Barfield, the male driver was identified as 25-year old Darrell Barnett of Smith County. Barnett was transported to South Central Regional Medical Center in Laurel by EMServ Ambulance Service, and later transferred to Forest General Hospital in Hattiesburg with what was believed to be serious life-threatening injuries.
The northbound lanes of I-59 remained closed for over two hours while rescue and vehicle recovery operations were performed.
The cause of the accident remains under investigation by MHP.
Also responding to the accident were Laurel Police Department, Jones County Sheriff’s Department, and Mississippi Department of Transportation.
Story by Linda Cranford, photos by Jones County Fire Service