Fatal wrecks

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 28, 2011

3 wrecks, 3 lives, 1 weekend

By Billy Davis

Firefighters from the Bynum Volunteer Fire Department were set to gather Monday night after they responded to a horrific automobile accident Friday in the Plum Point community.

“We’re going to meet and we’re going to talk this thing out,” Fire Chief Tony Ragon said of the automobile fire that claimed 16-year-old Cody Frazier.

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The one-car accident that killed Frazier was one of three automobile wrecks that claimed two other lives during the last weekend in June.

A minister from Arkansas was killed near Sardis Lake Saturday, and a Memphis man was killed Sunday on Curtis Road.

The traffic fatalities marked three of 10 deaths that occurred in Panola County from Friday through Sunday, including a fatal shooting in Sardis, said Panola County coroner Gracie Grant-Gulledge.

Frazier wrecked a Ford Mustang late Friday night when he left the road and hit a pine tree. The wreck crushed the driver’s side door, pinning the driver’s foot.

Then the car caught fire.

Ragon said a group of passersby “tried to get him out. They got burned on the hands trying to rescue him.”

The first Bynum firefighters were on the scene in under six minutes but the car was fully engulfed, said the fire chief. A rescue truck from Pope was also dispatched.

“It was the second time I’ve seen it in twenty-something years,” said Ragon, who recalled a truck driver who was killed on Interstate 55.

 “It stays with you,” he said.  

Funeral arrangements for Frazier were incomplete Monday at Kimbro Funeral Home in Marks.

The second traffic fatality occurred Saturday afternoon when an Arkansas pastor flipped his family’s Tahoe on Highway 315, said the coroner.

He was ejected from the vehicle and died on the scene.

The minister was transporting his wife and their three children to Sardis Lake, with other church members following, she said.

The wife and one child were transported by helicopter to The Med and to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.

Dempsey Caldwell Jr., a Batesville native, was killed early Sunday morning when his Toyota pickup left Curtis Road and struck a tree.

A farm worker who was driving past discovered Caldwell’s body hours after the automobile wreck, said the coroner.

A family member who contacted The Panolian said Caldwell was a South Panola High graduate who lived in Memphis.