Victims identified in fatal Woodville crash

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, January 7, 2009

WOODVILLE – Mississippi Highway Patrol Troop M officials say thevictims of a New Year’s Eve wreck in Woodville have finally beenconclusively identified.

Troop M Public Affairs Officer Sgt. Rusty Boyd said theaccident, which involved three vehicles and caused four fatalities,happened at 5:20 p.m. on Dec. 31 just west of Woodville on Highway24.

Boyd said Vanessa L. Blackmore, 41, and Annie May Ephion, 64,both of Woodville, were riding in a GMC Denali which was westboundon Highway 24 when a 1991 Nissan Sentra driven by Joyce Bolden, ofWoodville, slowed down to attempt a left-hand turn on to a countyroad.

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“The Denali struck the Nissan, and witnesses indicated that itactually struck it twice, forcing it off the road,” Boyd said.

Boyd said Blackmore’s vehicle continued on until it hit a 2003Saturn Vue head-on, killing Essie R. Green, 62, and DijoniseRutledge, 15, both of Woodville.

“The Denali rolled down the highway and caught fire, and the twosubjects in it were killed,” Boyd said.

Boyd said Blackmore and Ephion’s bodies were sent for autopsy.Officials could not identify them because of the fire, but alsobecause the Denali was registered to Blackmore’s sister.

“We finally connected the driver to the vehicle, because itbelonged to her sister, who confirmed that it was her in thevehicle,” Boyd said.

He said officials do not know the reason Blackmore and Ephionleft the scene after it first struck the Nissan. He said the causeof the accident might never be known.

“That is what we gathered from witnesses, and that’s the way ithappened,” he said. “But why it happened, the only ones that cantell us are gone.”

Bolden and her two passengers sustained minor injuries.