Body of Texas man recovered after crash

Published 11:20 am Wednesday, February 22, 2023

A Texas man died tragically in Panola County on Saturday, Feb. 18, when his truck crashed through the side of the concrete bridge that spans the Tallahatchie River on Interstate 55, plunging him to his death in the cold water.

Carlos A. Perza, 50, of Port Arthur crashed through the inside barrier of the northbound lanes on the interstate about 3:30 p.m. The Mississippi Highway Patrol responded to the accident quickly, but were unable to ascertain exactly where the truck had entered the river.

The Tallahatchie was moderately high over the weekend and the water was rushing under the bridge. First responders were unable to locate the vehicle Saturday despite a search that stretched into the night.

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The search resumed Sunday morning at 9 a.m. with cooperation between several county and state agencies led by Panola County Emergency Operations and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.

To accommodate the rescue trucks and equipment, the southbound lane of the interstate was shut down beginning at 9 a.m. and lasting until just before noon.

The body of the crash victim was recovered inside the vehicle and there was no reason to believe there were any other occupants, authorities said.

Further investigation will determine the cause of death.

Traffic was diverted from the Sardis exit in the southbound lane for the duration of the rescue.