Nine people were traveling east in a passenger van down Highway 16 in Kemper County. One person was traveling the opposite direction in a box truck, early Monday morning. Eight people lost their lives when the two vehicles collided head on. Both drivers survived.
Sheriff James Moore said this is the highest number of fatalities he’s ever seen in a wreck.
“It’s very unusual. It doesn’t happen often. A few years ago we had, I believe four people pass away in one car, but this time we had eight so it’s a very sad day,” said Sheriff Moore.
Sheriff Moore said the crash was so extreme that it’s amazing anyone survived.
“At this wreck, if you did everything right, somebody did something wrong. We know that. The accident is under construction right now by the Mississippi Highway Patrol, but the people in the van just didn’t have a chance. It would have been hard to survive an accident like that,” said Sheriff Moore.
Members of the community say they are shocked and saddened by the tragedy.
“The county is extremely very sad about what has happened. That’s an enormous amount of people to be involved in an accident. Our hearts go out to the families and the community as well that has been effected by this devastation,” said one local resident.
Amy Lugo told the Associated press her 48-year-old husband Francisco Lugo was killed. She said three of his brothers also died in the crash along with an uncle, two cousins and a brother-in-law. She said the lone survivor in the van, the driver, is also a cousin. She said the men worked pruning trees. Lugo and her husband have a son who turns two in August.
The cause of the crash is under investigation. We have learned though all the victims are from Noxubee County. Their Identities will be officially revealed when next of kin is notified.