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Two killed in Sunday accident

A crash just after midnight Sunday morning took the lives of twoCopiah County men and left a third hospitalized, officialssaid.

Copiah County Coroner Phil Howard said Charles Nunnery, 21, andPreston Berry, 18, both of Hazlehurst, died as a result of massivetrauma after their vehicle, a 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe, left the roadand hit some trees. Hunter McKinley, 22, is still in UniversityMedical Center in fair condition.

Copiah County Sheriff Harold Jones said the three were travelingnorthbound on Highway 51 when they left the road on the northboundside and hit a group of trees.

“They lost control and went off the road and struck the treesand it looks like the vehicle rotated on them,” Howard said. “Thedriver’s side and the top hit the trees. It wrapped the car andthen it bounced off the trees to the ground.”

Wesson Volunteer Fire Department Chief Dustin Brewer said itlooked as if they had gotten in the wrong lane andovercorrected.

“The skidmarks went all the way across the road,” he said.

Berry was pronounced dead on the scene, and Nunnery succumbed tohis injuries at the University Medical Center in Jackson, Jonessaid.

Berry was to have started his senior year at Copiah Academy nextMonday, and Nunnery was a senior at Mississippi StateUniversity.

Copiah Academy Headmaster Carol Rigby said the grief felt in theschool’s community extended well past the current school family, asnot only was Berry a CA student, but Nunnery and McKinley weregraduates of CA.

“There are a lot of devastated kids here,” she said. “But itgoes so much deeper because it covers so many years. Preston waswith us now, but you’ve also got the graduates from before.”

Berry was defensive lineman for the CA Colonels footballteam.

“We had started two-a-days and the football team had beenpracticing for a week, and this is devastating for them,” Rigbysaid.

Rigby said school officials are ready to provide counseling andwhatever help is needed to the students on an individual basis assoon as the school opens its doors, or sooner if needed.

“The football team had a special meeting this morning with theyouth pastors, but kids all heal differently,” she said. “We wantto be here for what each individual student needs, and you have tohelp them handle it as they individually need.”

Rigby said the healing process had already colored the beginningof the new school year.

“It’s a process of maturity and healing that some kids haven’thad to deal with, because death hasn’t touched them this closelyyet. Some of them can’t be expected to cope,” she said. “And asadults we all heal differently, too.”

Howard said autopsies were being performed on the two on Sundayafternoon.

“We know the cause of death for both was basically mass traumafrom the accident,” he said. “But it would be Monday afternoon lateor possibly Tuesday before I get a report.”

Stringer Funeral Home will be handling the arrangements.