3rd person dies in Mississippi highway collapse


              Part of Highway 26 washed away late Monday night, due to heavy rains from Hurricane Ida in the Benndale community in George County, Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021. (Hannah Ruhoff/The Sun Herald via AP)
Part of Highway 26 washed away late Monday night, due to heavy rains from Hurricane Ida in the Benndale community in George County, Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021. (Hannah Ruhoff/The Sun Herald via AP)

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — A third person has died as a result of a highway collapse in south Mississippi two weeks ago.

Amanda Williams of Wiggins died Saturday after being hospitalized since the Aug. 30 collapse, WLOX-TV reports.

The collapse on Highway 26 outside Lucedale in George County, which occurred during torrential rain brought by Hurricane Ida, caused seven vehicles to crash into the washed-out roadway.

Two people died at the time of the crash, and 10 others were injured, including 39-year-old Wiggins and her 16-year-old daughter, Emily.

Emily Williams is currently recovering from a torn colon, a broken leg and other injuries. Amanda Williams was being treated for her injuries at Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg when she died, according to WLOX.

During a Sept. 5 video interview with WLOX-TV, Emily Williams said she could hear the terrifying sounds of other vehicles crashing around — and on top of — the pickup truck where she and her mother were trapped after the truck plunged into a dark, muddy pit when the highway collapsed.

“I saw a black hole, then I blacked out and I woke up and my mom was leaned over toward me. She was choking on her blood and she couldn’t breathe or anything,” she told the television station.

Williams managed to sit her mother upright and stop her from choking. But, she said, she could still hear the chaos outside her family’s truck.

“I remember hearing a car coming and then I heard a crash and I heard an engine going from a car because it was on top of us,” Emily Williams said. “It didn’t really move us really much, but then I heard the screeching of another car’s tires. I heard people screaming and then it crashed.”

Layla Jamison of Lucedale, a 17-year-old senior at George County High, was in the car that landed on the Williams’ truck. Emily’s aunt, Shanna Bordelon, said Jamison’s car landed without crushing the cab where Emily and Amanda sat.

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