'I don't want to die'! Biloxi woman recalls son's terrifying words as barge crashed into bridge - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

'I don't want to die'! Biloxi woman recalls son's terrifying words as barge crashed into bridge

Photo courtesy Dept. of Marine Resources Photo courtesy Dept. of Marine Resources
Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - "We got to get off.  We got to get off.  I don't want to die. I don't want to die like this!"

Michelle Filipich recalled those chilling words uttered by 11-year-old son Nicholas early Friday morning.  It was around 7:24, and Filipich was taking Nicholas and her eight-year-old daughter Mary-Katherine north on the Popp's Ferry Bridge to get some doughnuts.  She noticed a tug boat in the distance, pushing eight barges.

"And then the light turned yellow and I could have went probably if I didn't have my kids in the car," said Filipich. "But my little boy was like. 'Stop momma. Stop! Stop!' Of course the bridge went up and I said, 'Oh my gosh. We're going to be late.'  So I was inching up."

Filipich parked just past the sign that tells drivers to stop at the traffic signal.

"And when we felt the bridge shake, and I still didn't know what it was," said Filipich.  "I can't even remember if I heard a noise or what it was, but I remember seeing the concrete falling."

That's when she realized what had happened.  A barge had slammed into the bridge, knocking down two concrete sections and eight pilings, just a few yards from where she and her children waited.

A terrified Filipich backed up the car to get off the bridge as quickly as possible.

"That's quite a drop," she commented as she peered over the broken span.

The emotions hit her again Monday morning, when she returned to the bridge for the first time.

"It's kind of scary.  Scary," said Filipich.

Filipich says her children still get nervous every time they cross a bridge. The experience and her very smart son taught her a valuable lesson.

"Patience about life and certain things.  What really doesn't matter and what does matter," said Filipich.

The Coast Guard and state Department of Marine Resources are still investigating the cause of the collision.  MDOT says they should know by next week the extent of the bridge damage, estimated cost, and how long the repairs will take.

©2009 WLOX. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

  • NEWSMore>>

  • 'Santa Wears a Badge' program hoping for more donations

    'Santa Wears a Badge' program hoping for more donations

    Monday, December 11 2017 11:26 PM EST2017-12-12 04:26:25 GMT
    The Jackson County Sheriff's Dept. will be accepting toys all the way up until the distribution date on December 19 and 20. They're also still accepting applications for kids to be on the receiving end. (Photo Source: WLOX)The Jackson County Sheriff's Dept. will be accepting toys all the way up until the distribution date on December 19 and 20. They're also still accepting applications for kids to be on the receiving end. (Photo Source: WLOX)

    The Jackson County Sheriff's Department is joining efforts with the community to make sure children in need can have a good Christmas. 

    More >>

    The Jackson County Sheriff's Department is joining efforts with the community to make sure children in need can have a good Christmas. 

    More >>
  • How the POTUS announcement about space exploration may benefit Infinity, Stennis

    How the POTUS announcement about space exploration may benefit Infinity, Stennis

    Monday, December 11 2017 11:13 PM EST2017-12-12 04:13:39 GMT
    Officials with the Infinity Science Center ?believe NASA's new task of sending astronauts back to the moon will fuel a renewed interest in rocket science. (Image Source: WLOX News)Officials with the Infinity Science Center ?believe NASA's new task of sending astronauts back to the moon will fuel a renewed interest in rocket science. (Image Source: WLOX News)

    Officials with the Infinity Science Center ?believe NASA's new task of sending astronauts back to the moon will fuel a renewed interest in rocket science.

    More >>

    Officials with the Infinity Science Center ?believe NASA's new task of sending astronauts back to the moon will fuel a renewed interest in rocket science.

    More >>
  • Coast schools honored by state education leader

    Coast schools honored by state education leader

    Monday, December 11 2017 10:16 PM EST2017-12-12 03:16:36 GMT
    The plaque received by the district has empty slots on it. The expectation is to remain an A rated district in the future as well. (Photo source: OSSD/Twitter)The plaque received by the district has empty slots on it. The expectation is to remain an A rated district in the future as well. (Photo source: OSSD/Twitter)

    The Mississippi Department of Education is on a statewide Celebration of Excellence Tour. It's designed to recognize and congratulate the Mississippi's highest ranking school districts.

    More >>

    The Mississippi Department of Education is on a statewide Celebration of Excellence Tour. It's designed to recognize and congratulate the Mississippi's highest ranking school districts.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly