Coahoma teen drowns in Mississippi River

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 6, 2009

A Coahoma County teen working alongside his father died Thursday night in a boat accident on the Mississippi.

Jeffery Allen Holloway, 19, 3817 Mississippi 1, apparently drowned after a 16-foot crew boat overturned in the river, Warren County Coroner Doug Huskey said.

Holloway’s father, Jeffery Dale Holloway, 42, and Adam Bennett, 33, of Helena, Ark., were also aboard the work vessel. Both men received treatment at the Ergon Marine terminal after being plucked from the water by company boats as they attempted to swim ashore.

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The elder Holloway was treated at River Region Medical Center and released, a hospital spokesman said.

The body of the younger Holloway was later found inside the cabin of the boat. Authorities believe he was trapped inside when the vessel capsized, just north of the river bridges. An autopsy was to be completed today in Jackson, Huskey said. All three were wearing life vests.

Big River Shipbuilders and Salvage recovered the boat, which has been impounded at the Port of Vicksburg, Sheriff Martin Pace said. U.S. Coast Guard personnel will examine the boat in an investigation into the cause of the capsizing.

Rescue boats from Ergon Marine, Vicksburg police and fire departments and the Warren County Sheriff’s Department searched the dark waters for the younger Holloway more than two hours after authorities began responding at about 7:15 p.m.

All three men worked for Friars Point-based Mississippi Limestone Inc.

Rhonda Holloway said her son worked as a pumper on the sand-dredging vessel, on which his father was a supervisor. The family lived in the Rena Lara community, southwest of Clarksdale.

“All he ever talked about was going to work with his daddy,” she said. “He never complained, and he had just come into his vacation days.”

Holloway said this morning her husband believes a steering cable on the boat failed.

Officials of Mississippi Limestone did not return calls this morning.

Thursday’s accident was the first reported maritime accident along the Mississippi and its tributaries in Warren County in 2008. No drownings were reported in 2008.

It was also the second incident at nearly the same location along the Mississippi River.

Earlier in the day, a 35-barge tow ran aground near Delta Point after its tugboat lost power in its steering.

Vessels from Ergon Marine, which operates a fuel and grocery firm in the bend of the river, responded at about 12:45 p.m. and successfully held the barges safely to the Louisiana bank at Delta Point until control was regained, said Albert Smith of Ergon.

The boat, owned by Kentucky-based Marquette Transportation, righted itself by late afternoon and continued downriver, Smith said.

No injuries were reported.


Contact Danny Barrett Jr. at