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She was killed while riding a Harley with her husband, Hancock official says of chain-reaction crash

A 55-year-old woman was killed in a chain-reaction crash on Interstate 10 that started with a family argument involving people she didn't know.

Criminal charges have been filed in the 10:14 a.m. crash Thursday between the Jourdan River Bridge and Diamondhead.

Mary Harris, of Monticello, Florida, was a passenger on her husband's Harley-Davidson motorcycle as they drove along the interstate with members of a motorcycle club, Hancock County Coroner Jim Faulk said.

The crash broke her husband's neck, Faulk said, but he is recovering.

The crash occurred after family members traveling in separate vehicles from Gulfport to Louisiana got into an argument, Diamondhead Police Capt. John Luther told the Sun Herald.

A man later identified as 56-year-old Fred Harris Johnson, of Gulfport, was driving a red Chevrolet Cavalier that pulled in front of a relative's vehicle and slammed on his brakes, causing a chain reaction, Luther said.

A white GMC Yukon was behind the family procession, and two motorcycles traveling together were behind the SUV. Luther said one motorcycle crashed into the Yukon and a Nissan Altima.

Harris died at the scene, Faulk said. Her husband was flown to Memorial Hospital at Gulfport. A number of the couple's relatives and friends from their motorcycle club gathered at the hospital to check on the husband, Faulk said.

Johnson was taken into custody at the scene of the crash and later arrested on charges of manslaughter and mayhem. Luther said culpable negligence is the underlying factor on the manslaughter charge.

Under state law, mayhem is any criminal act that "shall mutilate, disfigure, disable or destroy the tongue, eye, lip, nose or any other limb or member of any person."

Johnson was released from the Hancock County jail Saturday on bonds that total $50,000, the jail docket shows.

Sun Herald reporter Patrick Ochs contributed to this report.

Robin Fitzgerald, 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews
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