Three killed in early morning crash on Hwy. 6

Published 12:13 pm Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Three killed in early morning crash on Hwy. 6

First responders including policemen, firemen, sheriff deputies, coroners, air and ground medical transport converged on the wreck scene in Batesville on Highway 6 at the railroad overpass Saturday morning. A Quitman County vehicle headed west at a high rate of speed hit head on with another vehicle, killing three and seriously injuring two others.
The Panolian photo by John Howell

By John Howell
Four victims — three of whom were killed — of a horrific early Saturday car crash were not fleeing an attempted armed robbery or burglary, according to Batesville Deputy Police Chief Kerry Pittman, although rumors fueled by social media persisted through the weekend to the contrary.
“That rumor got started, but it was not true,” Pittman said.
The rumor was likely fueled by witness accounts that the westbound car carrying the four people was traveling at high speed when the driver attempted to pass a westbound pickup and trailer on the uphill incline of the Highway 6 railway overpass. Also contributing to the rumor was the police investigation of a burglary at Gas Mart West about the same time. (See related story.)
Pat McKittrick of Batesville, driving the westbound pickup, about 6 a.m. pulling a trailer carrying an off-road vehicle, said that the vehicle approached him from the rear at a high rate of speed and attempted to pass. The white Mercury carrying the four people crashed head-on into an eastbound pickup driven by Roy Lee Cole of Batesville. The impact threw one of the victims into the path of an oncoming fourth vehicle, authorities at the scene said. The fourth vehicle was also eastbound, behind Cole’s pickup.
Panola County Coroner Gracie Gulledge said three Quitman County residents — Corvalist Smith of Sledge and Stephanie Walter and Calvin Williams, both of Lambert, were killed in the crash and pronounced dead at the scene. The fourth victim, traveling with the people who were killed, was airlifted to the Regional Medical Center in Memphis. The fourth victim is identified on social media as Erika Davis. Her condition is listed as stable.
Cole was airlifted in another helicopter, also to the Med. Three helicopters — two from Air Evac and one from Wings — landed nearby in the parking lot of the building that formerly housed Framed Picture Enterprise. Cole was later reported to have serious but not life-threatening injuries.
Emergency responders included city and county law enforcement, Batesville firemen and equipment, EMA Director Daniel Cole, Panola County Coroner Gracie Gulledge and Deputy Coroner Jeffrey Bean, among others, in addition to the medical helicopters.

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