Four Killed, Five Injured In Pearl River County Crash

Four people were killed and five others hospitalized after authorities say an 18 wheeler rear ended a van carrying nine people.

It's still not clear exactly what happened but the accident occurred in the South bound lane of I-59 about ten miles south of Poplarville, near the McNeill Community.

The nine people in the white Chevy van were headed back to Louisiana after a weekend family gathering in Alabama. The Highway Patrol says the driver of the van, Sherry Macaluso, pulled off Interstate 59 several times along the way because of engine trouble. At the 17 mile marker on I-59 authorities say she once again tried to get back on the Interstate.

"According to the driver, she had proceeded to get back into the south bound lane with her flashers on and she stated that one of the passengers in the rear of the van told her 'Oh my gracious we're fixing to get hit'," Highway Patrol Officer Keith Lott said.

The 18-wheeler rear ended the van. The van and the semi crashed into trees on the side of I-59. A pine tree fell across the interstate, blocking traffic and complicating rescue efforts.

The first state trooper on the scene said the four people who died were not wearing seat belts and were thrown from the van.

"We had a couple people trapped, a couple under the van and one under the 18 wheeler," Lott said.

It took rescuers three hours to get the body trapped underneath the 18-wheeler out. The driver of the semi and a passenger in the truck were not hurt.

Here are the names of those killed in the accident: William Lindsey, 43 and 17 year old Crystal Peters, both of Tickfaw Louisiana, which is outside of Hammond.

20 year old Ashely Munn, and her 23 year old husband Dewayne Munn of Anniston Alabama also died in the accident. Their 8 month old son Mason survived. He's in critical but stable condition at University Medical Center Hospital in Jackson.

19 year old Ashely Peters and 19 year old Marcus Harris, both of Tickfaw were taken to Forrest General in Hattiesburg. Both are in the Intensive Care Unit in serious condition.

The driver Sherry Macaluso and another passenger Lonnie Roper were treated and released from Crosby Memorial Hospital in Picayune.

The Highway Patrol says the accident is still under investigation.

by Al Showers