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Officials name those killed in horrific interstate accident

Two Vicksburg residents and a resident of Pulaski were killed in a fiery, multi-vehicle crash on Interstate 20 Thursday afternoon.

Officials with the Mississippi Highway Patrol confirmed that Benjamin Brewer, 40, and Jennifer Lipe, 34, of Vicksburg, along with Rhoderick Coleman, 53, of Pulaski, were killed in the six-vehicle crash near the Big Black River on Interstate 20 westbound. The names of those killed were withheld until their families could be contacted.

At just before 2 p.m., the Mississippi Highway Patrol responded to a fatal crash on I-20 in Warren County. Preliminary reports indicated that traffic was stopped due to an earlier crash when the second crash occurred. The crash involved two 18-wheelers, a Ford F-150, a Ram 1500, a GMC Yukon, and an Infiniti passenger vehicle.

Mississippi Highway Patrol spokesman Trooper Kervin Stewart said the wreck occurred in the westbound lane of Interstate 20 while traffic was stopped because of the 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.

The cab of an 18-wheeler involved in the crash, the SUV, the Infiniti passenger car, and the trailer of the second 18-wheeler were completely burned due to the crash.

The initial report from the Mississippi Highway Patrol said five other people were injured in the accident, with three being transported to Jackson-area hospitals and two others checked out on the scene. Vicksburg Fire Chief Craig Danczyk said one of the injured people was transported to University of Mississippi Medical Center. The two others were taken to Merit Health Central Mississippi. 

As for those killed, Coleman was the only occupant in the GMC Yukon, while Brewer and Lipe were traveling in the Infiniti. A third passenger in the Infiniti was able to get out of the vehicle.

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. As late as 10 p.m. Thursday, traffic was backed up on the westbound lanes as far back as Bolton.

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 Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

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