Two die in overnight accidents|[01/24/07]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Two Vicksburg men died in separate accidents Tuesday night and this morning, one when a car ran into a lake and the other when a car struck a deer.

Joseph Bryan Moreland, 22, 114 Belva Drive, was driving an Acura Integra south on Belva toward his home about 9:06 p.m. when it left the road to the east and went into Lake Linda in the Warrenton Heights subdivision.

Curtis Branch, 30, 33 Beulah Lane, near Eagle Lake, died, and four others were injured when the Honda Passport in which they were riding struck a deer on Mississippi 465 about 12:29 a.m. today.

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Warren County Coroner Doug Huskey ruled that Moreland, who was alone in the car, drowned and said no autopsy would be performed.

&#8220He came around the corner at a high rate of speed and didn’t make the curve,” Patrolman Roy Hall said.

Hall said Moreland’s car instead went &#8220straight through the yard” of 680 Belva Drive. Tire marks tracked 83 yards through the yard to the lake’s edge.

Brent Cappaert, 27, inside the home, said he heard screeching tires. &#8220I looked out the back door and saw tail lights in the pond,” Cappaert said. He directed that police be called, ran to the lake and dived in.

&#8220The car just sank too fast,” Cappaert said. Vicksburg Police Officer Bert Ryan arrived about 2 minutes later. The car was &#8220all but underwater” when he also swam to it. &#8220I couldn’t do anything either,” Ryan said.

Ryan said the car was about 20 yards from the shore in water about 10 to 15 feet deep.

Vicksburg Fire Department divers retrieved Moreland’s body and helped retrieve the car, pulled from the lake about 11 p.m.

Moreland’s mother, Paula Ann Lambert; brother, Bradley Lambert; and sister, Cassie Moreland, were also at the scene.

&#8220He had just gotten his physical,” Moreland’s stepfather, Howard Lambert, said. &#8220He was going to work for Magnolia Marine.”

Moreland is also survived by his father, Harold Moreland, Lambert said.

Fisher Funeral Home has charge of arrangements.

Sgt. John Minor of the Mississippi Highway Patrol, who investigated the wreck on what is also known as Eagle Lake Road, said two of Branch’s brothers, Joshua A. Branch, 21, who was driving, and Joseph A. Branch, 20, both of 41 Lottie Mae Lane, were also in the vehicle, as were Greg Bass and Mary Bass, whose ages and addresses were unavailable.

Minor said all four of the others went to River Region Medical Center, where a spokesman said three were treated and released. A fourth apparently required no treatment.

The Passport was being driven north about two miles south of Eagle Lake Shore Road, Minor said. It struck and killed the deer, went out of control and swerved to the left, overturning about seven or eight times in a flat area, Minor said.

Curtis Branch was a passenger and was ejected, Minor said. Deputy Coroner Ron Regan said Branch died of trauma to the head, neck and chest.

Jefferson Funeral Home had charge of arrangements.