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Multiple deaths reported in chain reaction wreck on Interstate 20

A fiery crash Thursday afternoon involving six vehicles in the westbound lane of Interstate 20 at the Big Black River Bridge resulted in multiple fatalities, authorities said.

The wreck, which claimed the lives of at least two people, occurred about 1:51 p.m. Thursday in the westbound lane of I-20 at the Big Black River bridge. Vicksburg Fire Chief Craig Danczyk said three people injured in the wreck were taken by ambulance to hospitals in Jackson; one to the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and two taken to Merit Health Central Mississippi. He did not have information on the injuries.

Mississippi Highway Patrol spokesman Trooper Kervin Stewart said the wreck occurred in the westbound lane of Interstate 20 while traffic was stopped because of an earlier wreck Thursday morning, where an 18-wheeler overturned near the Flowers exit.

“An 18-wheeler, an SUV, two pickups and an unknown vehicle were stopped when another 18-wheeler collided with the SUV — which was the last vehicle in line — causing a chain reaction collision,” Stewart said. “We have two fatalities.”

Stewart could not confirm that only two people were killed in the accident, given the amount of work left to untangle the vehicles and clear the wreck. As of 7 p.m. Thursday no other fatalities had been reported, but work to clear the accident was continuing. 

The collision caused several fires, including the trailer of the first 18-wheeler, which was carrying cardboard, the SUV and the second 18-wheeler. Stewart said the drivers of the 18-wheelers and the two pickups were able to escape.

“There were three people in the SUV,” Stewart said, adding one person in the SUV was able to escape. He did not know about the people in the unknown vehicle.

Stewart said one eastbound lane of I-20 was reopened as of 6 p.m., while one westbound lane was expected to open by 8 p.m.

Because of where the accident took place, traffic continued to back up in both directions on the interstate and caused significant delays on feeder roads in the area, including U.S. Highway 80.

Besides the Highway Patrol, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, the Bovina Volunteer Fire Department, Culkin Fire Department, Vicksburg Fire Department, Warren County Emergency Management and firefighters from Hinds County responded to the wreck.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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