‘These people saved lives today’: Sheriff praises civilian rescuers after horrific accident on Mississippi highway critically injures two

Published 10:31 am Friday, April 28, 2023

A horrific, three-car accident this morning on U.S. 61 north of Natchez had traffic backed up for miles.

At about 7:50 a.m., Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten, who was traveling southbound on U.S. 61, came upon the accident.

He said civilians — nurses, a wrecker driver, others whom he called heroes — happened upon the scene and were rendering aid to two people trapped inside their vehicles.

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“I was headed into town and I could see smoke when I reached the area of Starnes Drive. I came around the corner near Starnes and the Mississippi Highway Patrol’s Drivers License Office and I could see one vehicle had hit an embankment wall. Another was overturned, and a third was partially in the roadway,” the sheriff said. After first calling for help from fire and rescue, Patten began helping at the scene.

“We were able to extract both parties from their vehicles. We loaded them into AMR ambulances and they were taken to Merit Health. Both were flown out to separate trauma centers,” he said.

According to a witness at the scene, one vehicle traveling in the northbound lane veered across the median and clipped another vehicle traveling southbound.

The first vehicle then hit another vehicle, causing it to crash into an embankment.

The first vehicle then overturned. Drivers of the the northbound vehicle and the vehicle that hit the embankment were trapped.

No other information was available about the condition of the two injured drivers as of this writing.

“When I got out of my vehicle, there were civilians who had stopped to render aid to both victims trapped in the two vehicles,” Patten said. “Seeing what I saw today, really speaks volumes about the people we have in this community.”

“In the age of lawsuits we live in, these people didn’t let rules and regulations get in the way. They provided help to those who desperately needed it. I don’t know their names, but I want to commend them for their actions. I truly believe with how bad these accidents were, these people saved lives today. They wrapped bath towels around their hands to break out windows. They were climbing on top of the cars. They broke out a windshield. They tore a door off the car. They were able to stabilize the victims. I don’t know their names, but I want to give them a huge thank you for what they did today,” the sheriff said.

“Adams County Sheriff’s deputies, AMR ambulance personnel, Merit Health, the Natchez Fire Department and Fire and Rescue all did an outstanding job today working together on this critical incident. I thank them all for their efforts,” Patten said.