Probe may link fatality with fire at motel

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 12, 2001

[02/12/01] Whether there’s a link between a hit-and-run fatality and fire that destroyed part of the Scottish Inn hours later on Saturday was being investigated this morning, Vicksburg Fire Chief Kevin Westbrook said.

The driver charged with killing a man on North Washington Street about 2 a.m. was arrested at the East Clay Street fire scene about 8 a.m. after the fire started around 4:20 a.m., authorities said.

“We are hoping to come up with something new today,” Westbrook said.

George Spratley, 24, 3785 Flowers Hill Road, was arrested by police at the Scottish Inn where he had a room, said Sgt. Beverly Prentiss, and charged with vehicular homicide.

His car, a 1992 Pontiac, also burned. There has been speculation he set it with the intention of destroying evidence and that the flames spread to the motel.

Killed on North Washington Street was Kelvin Watson, who was 28, and a resident of 151 Pittman Road.

Watson had left Joanna’s and was crossing North Washington when he was hit, Lt. David Beard of the Vicksburg Police Department said. Beard said Saturday he didn’t know if alcohol was involved.

Police have not said how they connected Spratley to the hit and run. There was also no explanation of why the City of Vicksburg Maintenance Department employee had a room at the motel.

“We don’t know if he was just there for one night or if he was living there,” Prentiss said.

Most of the rooms in the older, frame structure were rented to construction workers, many of them employed on the U.S. 61 North site where River Region Health System is building a medical complex. All occupants of the burned building escaped without injury. Westbrook said firefighters continued to check for hot spots throughout the weekend at the motel, which includes three buildings.

Spratley was in the Warren County Jail without bond. He was to have his first court appearance today.

Williams Funeral Service has charge of the arrangements for Watson.