Man dead in crash into PDPublished 11:30am Friday, May 30, 2014
A Vicksburg man died Thursday after the car he was driving knocked a hole in the back of Vicksburg Police Department and caught fire.
Deputy Coroner Kelda Bailess pronounced Carl James, 59, dead at the crash site at about 7 p.m. Thursday.
An autopsy was ordered for today to determine the cause of death, she said.
A medical condition might have made James veer off the west side of Monroe Street about half a block south of where his northbound four-door Ford struck a speed limit sign, ran though a fence and then knocked a hole in the juvenile investigation office of the police department before catching fire, Police Chief Walter Armstrong said.
“We don’t suspect any foul play,” Armstrong said.
When the car went through the wall and window on the southeast corner of the police department, it caught fire, Armstrong said. Two investigators share the office where the car landed on a desk, he said.
No one was in the office, Armstrong said.
“Thank goodness there wasn’t. They were at Streetball. Otherwise they would have been back there,” Armstrong said.
At least three rooms of the police department suffered heavy fire, smoke and water damage, Armstrong said. Smoke billowed from the front of the police department while firefighters extinguished the burning vehicle. Officers stationed at the front desk of the department had set up shop outside on a folding table at about 8:30 p.m. The police department was closed this morning and Municipal Court has been moved to the county courthouse until further notice.
“It will take some time to get the building back to where it was before the crash,” he said.
The juvenile investigation division will have to be moved while the building is repaired, he said. An engineer was expected to examine the building today, Armstrong said.
A meeting is set for 1:30 p.m. today at City Hall to discuss the extent of the damage, Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said. “We’ve already declared an emergency, so we can expedite the claiming,” he said.
Flaggs commended the work of the fire department in containing the blaze and attempting to save James before it was determined that he had died.
“Vicksburg Fire Department … did what they are trained to do and tried to rescue him from the vehicle,” Flaggs said.
The fatal crash is the second reported within a week inside the Vicksburg city limits. On Saturday, 26-year-old Krystal Foster died in a head-on collision near the intersection of Washington and Bowman Streets.