• 72°

Three remain hospitalized after fiery crash

BOGUE CHITTO — Two people are still in critical, but stable,condition at University Medical Center, and another has been movedto a private room following a Tuesday night accident that claimedtwo lives.

Julia Sivils, 17, of 69 Nola Road, Sontag, was listed in stablecondition, while Larry Rutland, 22, of 822 Denton Trail,Brookhaven, and Jeffrey Berryhill, 19, of 326 Auburn Drive, BogueChitto, were both in critical, but stable, condition Thursdaymorning, according to a UMC spokesman.

Since the fiery accident that killed Torry Murillo Jr., 21, ofBogue Chitto, and Andrew Gitzen, 15, of 44 River Road, authoritieshave discovered that the altercation the youths were involved inmight have been ongoing in recent weeks.

“We’re still looking into it, but we have had reports that thisstarted a couple of weeks ago,” said Lincoln County Sheriff LynnBoyte.

Authorities are still uncertain about the origin of thealtercation but believe it may have involved a boy-girlrelationship.

According to Brookhaven Assistant Police Chief Arlustra “Pap”Henderson, some of the occupants of the vehicle were involved in afight with Jerry Horn, address and age unknown, in the parking lotof a business on Brookway Boulevard around 8 p.m. Tuesday.

“Evidently they had an altercation in the parking lot, and itwas about something that happened earlier out in the county,” saidHenderson.

The fight was broken up before officers arrived on thescene.

“They (officers) talked with both parties and asked them toleave,” said Henderson.

Apparently after the run-in with authorities, the group of fiveheaded to Big Creek Drive to the home of a female juvenile.

They began throwing beer cans and other objects at the house,said Boyte, and the girl called the Lincoln County Sheriff’sDepartment.

Deputies attempted to stop the vehicle by stopping a patrol car,with its lights flashing, in the road. Murillo, who was driving thePontiac Grand Am, did not stop for authorities, said Boyte.

It has since been discovered that Murillo was driving with asuspended license and had several other charges pending againsthim, Boyte said.

“It could have ended right there, but he decided to take off andgo around them,” he added.

Murillo continued driving down McCaffery Trail, a county roadwith steep hills. Deputies reported witnessing the Pontiac Grand Amjump hills, causing sparks to fly from the vehicle when itlanded.

The vehicle’s last ascent was at the intersection of McCafferyTrail and Calvary Drive where it flew into a hickory tree and burstinto flames. The incident was recorded on a videotape in one of thesheriff’s department vehicles.

Deputies, along with two state troopers, went “beyond the callof duty” to assist those in the car, Boyte said. They removed fourof the five victims from the car while it burned, he said.

The fifth, Murillo, was pinned behind the steering wheel and hadto be removed with the Jaws of Life.

Funeral services for Gitzen were incomplete Thursday morningwith Brookhaven Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.

Services for Murillo will be held at 4 p.m. Friday at BrookhavenFuneral Home, with burial at Gum Grove Baptist Church Cemetery.