Work to clear devastating wreck on Interstate 20 continues

Published 6:54 pm Thursday, March 25, 2021

One lane of Interstate 20 westbound is expected to reopen by 8 p.m. as authorities continue to examine the debris from a fiery six-vehicle crash that claimed at least two lives.

“We’ve got some more equipment in here,” said Mississippi Highway Patrol Trooper Kervin Stewart. “Westbound traffic is still stopped. We may be able to possibly open one lane of traffic in about an hour.”

The wreck, that 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 to Merit Health Central Mississippi. He did not have information on the injuries.

Stewart said the wreck occurred in the westbound lane of Interstate 20 westbound while traffic was stopped because of an earlier wreck.

“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,” he said. “We have two fatalities.”

The number of fatalities may not be final, given the amount of work left to untangle the vehicles and clear the wreck.

The collision caused several fires, including the trailer of the first 18-wheeler, which was carrying cardboard, the SUV and the other 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 involved in the crash.

Stewart said one lane of the eastbound lane of Interstate 20 has also been reopened.

Because of where the accident took place, traffic continued to back up in both directions on the interstate and caused significant backups 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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