Fatal Accident Shocks Family, Friends

Robert Anzalone felt the need to stop on Highway 53 Thursday morning, hoping to find some answers.

He pointed to some debris and said "That tail light looks like it was from the accident".

Just hours earlier, Anzalone heard at work about the fiery accident Wednesday night that killed his friend, 25-year-old Joshua Peterson. The two used to work together at a quick lube business in Gulfport.

"It's pretty sad to hear about that. It's sort of a shock, you know. You see them one day and the next day they're gone," Anzalone said.

Authorities say Peterson and two other men, 23-year-old Bradford Sansone and 25-year-old Christopher Chizk, were heading south on Highway 53 around 8:30 Wednesday night when their car rear-ended a van.

The victim's car then spun into the other lane, was hit by another vehicle, and burst into flames. Twelve other people were also injured in the accident.

Highway patrol Staff Sergeant Jay Kelly says it was one of the worst accidents he's ever worked.

"Definitely different. A lot of damage last night. A lot of damage to those vehicles last night."

He returned Thursday morning, spraying the tire marks and mapping the crash site to get a better picture of what really happened.

Several homeowners in the area were uncomfortable talking to us on camera about the tragedy, but they did tell us this is a dangerous stretch of highway, especially with the narrow curve just yards away from the accident scene. They say they've seen numerous accidents here, but never one this bad.

"I don't like hearing about stuff like that. It makes you think while you're driving on the road. You think it'll never happen to you, and you hear about a friend happening, and just don't like it," Anzalone said.

Family members say Dana and Joel Ladner of Saucier, their two children, and three other teenagers were in the van when it was hit from behind and flipped over. They were all treated and released.

There's no word on the conditions of the five other people injured in that crash.