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Passenger killed in rear-end collision on I-55

A two-vehicle crash early today caused the death of a backseat passenger.

The crash occurred shortly after midnight on Interstate 55 at mile marker 33. That’s about three miles south of the Hwy. 84 Brookhaven exit.

Ramon Prieto was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS, said Lincoln County Coroner Clay McMorris. No age or address was available.

Prieto was a passenger in the back seat of a 2001 Ford Mustang driven by his nephew, Andres Lemus, 54, of Jackson, said Cpl. Brandon Fortenberry with the Mississippi Highway Patrol. Gonzales Pablo, 48, no address available, was a passenger in the front seat. Lemus and Pablo received moderate injuries, Fortenberry said.

The Mustang was moving slowly in the right lane of I-55 because of a flat tire, he said.

The car was hit from behind by a 2015 Jeep Renegade driven by Kevin Kuntz Jr., 28, of Ridgeland, Fortenberry said. After the collision, the Jeep rolled over and came to rest on I-55, blocking both lanes.

Troopers were able to open the left lane by 1:35 a.m. and the scene was cleared by 2:10 a.m., Fortenberry said.

Kuntz was not injured, Fortenberry said.

The crash remains under investigation by the Highway Patrol.