Vicksburg man dies as storm slams county4,000 Entergy customers without power

Published 11:30 am Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The powerful thunderstorm that moved through the Vicksburg area Monday night is being blamed for the death of a Warren County man.

James “Jimmy” Boyd, 52, 7808 Jeff Davis Road, died while operating a chain saw on a tree that had fallen at Fisher Ferry and Amanda roads, near his home.

Warren County Coroner Doug Huskey said Boyd was declared dead at 10:33 p.m.

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The cause of death was not immediately apparent, as Boyd had no obvious injuries, and his body was sent to the Mississippi State Crime Lab in Jackson for an autopsy, Huskey said. Results could be received today, Huskey said.

The storm hit the county around 9 p.m. but was forecasted about an hour earlier with a CodeRed alert sent to city and county residents who had registered for the service. County residents have been eligible for about two weeks, while city residents have had the service for several years.

Another round of lightning storms hit around 2:30 this morning and again around 7. CodeRed issued a second thunderstorm warning about 7:15 a.m.

Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said 31 trees were reported down and blocking roadways at about 7:30 a.m. With trees still falling, he said two hours later three more had been reported down.

“Of course, the only ones we’re getting calls on are the ones blocking traffic,” Pace said.

Many had been cleared this morning, though one tree that was tangled with electrical wires remained blocking Tiffentown Road in Bovina this morning. Another had much of the Wildwood Subdivision, north of the former ParkView Regional Medical Center, in the dark.

County road crews and workers from Entergy responded to the blockage in the 2100 block of Tiffentown, but the utility workers deferred disconnecting the wire until this morning, said Pace.

Boyd died trying to clear a lane of traffic on Fisher Ferry after finding a tree fallen there just after 9 p.m, said the sheriff. Boyd’s 1998 Chevrolet Suburban was found parked with the lights illuminating the area where he was working, said Pace.

“It appears he got out with a chain saw to attempt to clear a lane of traffic — just being a good citizen,” the sheriff said. “When emergency workers arrived, they found him lying at the tree, the chain saw beside him still idling. His hand was still touching it.”

Volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel from the Fisher Ferry Volunteer Fire Department and Vicksburg Fire Department attempted to revive Boyd but could not, said Huskey.

Boyd was the owner of Boyd’s Accounting, 722 Belmont St., a business he ran for perhaps 30 years ago, said employee Sissy McCarty, who had worked for Boyd for 13 years.

“He was a real good guy, a good Christian man,” McCarty said.

Boyd was a long-time member of Highland Baptist Church, and leaves a daughter and a son, said McCarty.

Twelve trees were reported down in the city, including the one on McAuley Drive that took out power lines, said Emergency Management Director John Elfer.

“Policemen came out and sat there all night,” Tere DeMoss, a resident of McAuley Drive.

“What surprises me is that Entergy has not been out to check the wires to see if they’re live,” DeMoss said. “We can’t go out, we can’t go to the grocery store and we have no power to cook food at home,” she said.

An unoccupied home at 2200 Cherry Street was damaged by a fallen tree, and several utility fires associated with transformers were reported, Elfer added.

Trees reported down this morning were on Mississippi 27 near Warren Central High School and on Redbone Road. Power lines were down on East Avenue. The traffic signal at Bowmar Avenue and Halls Ferry Road was out.

Entergy spokesman Don Arnold said close to 4,000 customers in Warren County were without power this morning, many south of Interstate 20. He did not know the outages in Claiborne County.

“It’s huge,” Arnold said. “It’s probably the largest number of customers we’ve had without power since (Hurricane) Katrina. We’re scrambling to bring in extra crews.”

Jackson and Natchez were also being hit hard by the storm, and Entergy might have to bring in workers from out of state, he said.

Severe storms that moved through parts of North Mississippi left behind downed trees and power lines but no reported injuries.

The National Weather Service in Memphis reported straight line winds of up to 70 miles per hour.

One hard hit area Monday was Belmont in Tishomingo County and in Union County, Sheriff Jimmy Edwards said the storm knocked out power to the jail but a generator kicked in to continue providing power.

Lee County downed trees and power lines as well as damage to a house in Mooreville.