WC student dies after Firestone tire blows

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 18, 2000

Fred Yates, right, stands next to the Nissan Pathfinder in which his three grandsons were traveling this morning when the vehicle flipped, killing one of the brothers and injuring the other two. The three were on their way to school at Warren Central High School. (The Vicksburg Post/PAT SHANNAHAN)

A 15-year-old student at Warren Central High School died this morning when a Firestone tire blew and he was thrown from the SUV in which he and two brothers, including his twin, were riding to school.

Dan Yates, 15, 5928 Old Port Gibson Road, Utica, was killed, said his grandfather Fred Yates, who lives on Mississippi 27 near Utica in the area where the one-vehicle wreck occurred.

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Yates said his elder grandson, Stephen Yates, 18, was driving the red Nissan Pathfinder and another grandson, Lee Yates, Dan’s twin, was a passenger.

The grandfather said Lee Yates suffered a broken pelvis, ankle and kneecap and was taken to ParkView Regional Medical Center in Vicksburg. Stephen Yates, he said, had a bump on the head. The three brothers were all en route to school at Warren Central when the wreck occurred about 7:30 a.m.

Kinton Jones, a resident of 4624 Mississippi 27, said he had stepped outside his home beside the highway about 7:30 a.m. to drink a cup of coffee and smoke a cigarette. He witnessed the wreck.

“I heard the tire blow and looked. It pulled him to the shoulder of the road and when he brought it back, he flipped,” Jones said.

He said the tire blew about 100 yards south of his house. The location of the wreck is in Hinds County about four miles south of the Big Black River.

Jones said Dan Yates was ejected from the side of the vehicle as it flipped.

June Yates, the grandmother, blamed the tires on the Pathfinder for causing the wreck.

“Those darned Firestone Wilderness tires,” she said.

Bridgestone/Firestone Inc., the manufacturer of the tires, recalled 6.5 million of the tires last week. The recall was prompted by reports of the tread separating from the body of the tires, causing wrecks.

Included in the recall were Wilderness AT tires. The Yates vehicle had tires bearing that emblem.

The Mississippi Highway Patrol was investigating the wreck.

Stephen Yates is a senior at Warren Central; the twins, sophomores.