Deputy OK after wreck in storm

Published 5:00 am Monday, April 13, 2009

Officials say a Lincoln County deputy is shaken and sore butuninjured after his patrol car left Interstate 55 during Sundaynight’s heavy rain.

Sheriff Steve Rushing said Deputy Jason Hawkins was respondingto a disturbance call during the height of Sunday night’s stormwhen his vehicle hit a slick spot.

“He hit some water about the 40-mile marker and hydroplaned offand hit a tree,” Rushing said.

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Hawkins did not have to be taken to the hospital, but the carsustained heavy rear end damage, he said.

“It happened during the main part of the rain coming in,”Rushing said, adding that Hawkins will be back at work at on hisregularly scheduled shift.

Rushing urged motorists to be careful on roadways when even aslight rain has fallen.

“Slow down, take your time whenever it’s that type of weathergoing on,” he said.

Elsewhere, Rushing said, his men primarily spent the eveningassisting with all the motorists who were sliding off I-55.

“Flooded roads were the main things we dealt with last night, wehad a few accidents dealing with flooded roads, but we were mainlyhelping highway patrol,” he said.

Mississippi Highway Patrol Troop M Public Affairs Officer Sgt.Rusty Boyd said there were a few notable accidents, but most ofwhat his troopers dealt with had to do with water on the road.

“I know we had an 18-wheeler overturn somewhere around the20-mile marker on I-55, I don’t think there were any injuries, andthere was some water over 570 west of the interstate,” he said.”Also, I know there were some trees on Highway 51.”

Boyd said when the heavy rain comes down and covers the roadsand obscures vision for motorists, there is very little trooperscan do but just go from call to call, making certain travelers aresafe and helping call wreckers to pull them out.

“All we can do is just put our slicker suits on and get afterit. Just handle what comes up,” he said. “In situations like that,usually somebody is stuck, and there is little damage if any, andall they need is someone to pull them out. We just call someone topull them out and sit there until they’re finished.”