Two-vehicle wreck on U. S. 61N kills Delta man, granddaughter

Published 11:30 am Friday, May 4, 2012

A Delta, La., man and his adult granddaughter were killed Thursday in a two-vehicle wreck on U.S. 61 North after leaving the emergency room where the man’s wife was being treated for chest pains.

Billy Ray Williamson, 67, 402 Second St., died instantly in the wreck reported at about 5:30 p.m., Deputy Warren County Coroner Kelda Bailess said. Williamson’s granddaughter, Amber Sartor, 28, Delta Apartments, Apt. 103, died just before midnight at University Medical Center, the Jackson hospital to which she was airlifted just after the wreck.

Cpl. Odis Easterling of the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol said the accident occurred as Williamson attempted to cross U.S. 61 North to turn into the southbound lanes from the east side of the four-way highway. His 2006 Ford van was broadsided at Tibs Lane and U.S. 61 by a northbound 18-wheeler driven by James E. Knight, 58, of Vidalia, La.

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Knight was not injured.

Bailess said Williamson and Sartor died of severe head, chest and abdominal trauma.

Williamson and Sartor had just left Williamson’s wife, Margie Williamson, who was about to be admitted to River Region Medical Center through the emergency room, Bailess said.

“They had left to get clothes and had just left the bank when the accident occurred,” she said.

Margie Williamson remained at River Region this morning, hospital spokesman Allen Karel said.

The accident forced officials to reroute northbound traffic on U.S. 61 to one of the southbound lanes, Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said.

“It slowed traffic, and we had two-lane traffic for about three hours,” he said.

Starley Brewer of Tallulah this morning said her niece, Amber Sartor, and Sartor’s grandfather were “two good people.”

“He and Miss Margie raised Amber and her brother, Timmy, after their mother died,” she said. “He adopted Timmy and raised him like his own son.”

Timmy Brewer, a senior at Madison High School in Tallulah, was on his senior trip to Florida when the accident occurred, his aunt said.

Starley Brewer said Sartor and Williamson were as close as a father and daughter.

“She called him her pappaw/daddy,” she said. “Whenever she needed a ride to the doctor or to go to town, she would call him.”

Sherry Harmon of Vicksburg, Williamson’s niece, said Sartor was on disability and engaged to be married.

She said Sartor and her brother were the center of Williamson’s life.

“Timmy was his fishing buddy, and they were always together,” she said. “He would go anywhere to fish.

“He was always close to his children and grandchildren and loved them all,” she said.

She said Williamson was retired from various car dealerships, but still delivered cars for a business in Tallulah.

“If someone had a special order, they would go pick up the car, or deliver one to another dealer,” she said.

“They were both always so full of life and just wonderful people,” Brewer said.

The highway patrol’s Easterling said the wreck remains under investigation.

The deaths of Sartor and Williamsons were the second and third in Warren County outside the city this year. One fatal wreck has been reported in Vicksburg.