Fatal accident renews a sheriff's plea for the right to use rada - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Fatal accident renews a sheriff's plea for the right to use radar in his county

RANKIN COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A McLaurin High School student was killed in a one-vehicle wreck Tuesday, and although the cause is still under investigation, the Rankin County Sheriff says it demonstrates the ongoing need for radar on county roads.

"That's the first thing I thought of, with a 17 year old killed in that accident. I just thought of my daughter," said Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey. "I don't know how a parent overcomes something like this."

McLaurin High School beauty Olivia Rae Watkins was killed in a one-vehicle accident on Thomasville Road, near Florence. A few friends were nearby in another car. It appears Watkins lost control of her vehicle.

The marks along Thomasville Road and on the shoulder of the road indicate how Watkins car just came off this roadway and slammed into a tree.

It's unclear whether Watkins was using her cell phone or speeding, but Sheriff Bailey says the accident reinforces an argument he's been making for years, county law enforcement agencies *need* the authority to use radar on county roads.

The legislature keeps saying no, but Bailey says it's because some believe agencies will begin writing tickets just for revenue.

It's complete ignorance they won't allow sheriffs to run radar on county roads to keep people in their county safe," said Bailey. Brandon can run it, the city of Ridgeland, Flowood, Pearl, they can all run it but the sheriff's office can't."

He says it's based on population.

Larry Pittman, who's been living on Thomasville Road for 30 years, says that needs to change. He's seen two fatal accidents on the road in the past year; fatalities that could be prevented.

"They'll come over that hill going 60-70 miles per hour," said Pittman.

Copyright 2014 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

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