Stone County

First responders brave the elements to rescue motorists, including man trapped under his car

Wiggins firefighters use an air bag to free a man's arm after it was trapped under his overturned vehicle as sleet fell Tuesday night in Stone County.
Wiggins firefighters use an air bag to free a man's arm after it was trapped under his overturned vehicle as sleet fell Tuesday night in Stone County.

Just as sleet and other wintry precipitation began to fall, a pickup hit another truck and overturned, partially ejecting the driver and trapping his arm under his overturned vehicle.

“We need drivers to understand that they shouldn’t get out on the road in these conditions if they don’t absolutely have to,” Wiggins Fire Chief Jody Hatten said. “If they have to get out, they need to get whatever they need to do done during the daylight so they can be home by night.”

In Tuesday night’s crash at New Hope and Thelma Anderson roads, the driver ran a stop sign about 7:30 p.m., Hatten said.

“I don’t know if the driver was not paying attention or if it was because the roads were slick, but he T-boned another vehicle.”

The driver was partially ejected from his front windshield and his arm became trapped under the hood of his overturned truck.

“It was tricky getting the man out,” Hatten said.

Wiggins firefighters picked up the truck and used air bags to help free the man’s arm.

The driver was taken to Forest General Hospital in Hattiesburg. He was in stable but serious condition, Hatten said.

A passenger in the other pickup may have dislocated a shoulder, he said.

Hazardous road conditions are expected to continue overnight into Thursday, Hatten said.

The wreck is one of dozens reported across South Mississippi overnight and into the day Wednesday before ice covering highways and roads began to melt.

Wiggins police and firefighters responded to dozens of crashes and stranded cars Wednesday morning as cars slipped and slid, striking other vehicles, hitting embankments or running into ditches. A couple of crashes involved people heading to work, Hatten said.

Other law enforcement agencies gave similar reports. In Gulfport, police worked 15 crashes from 6:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., a spokesman said.

Ice not going away

A number of major highways with bridges were closed because of ice, such as the highrise on U.S. 90 in Pascagoula, the Biloxi Bay Bridge, the Bay of St. Louis Bridge and the I-110 bridge near Biloxi.

Hatten said freezing temperatures Wednesday night and into Thursday morning can lead to more ice on roadways, especially in shaded areas, on bridges and overpasses. The ice may not be white or easy to see. Black ice is likely, Hatten said, referring to ice that takes on the color of the road and can easily cause crashes.

With overnight temperatures expected in the 20s, roads and highways may freeze again, and those that did thaw out Wednesday will re-freeze, Hatten said.

Public safety officials are advising drivers to stay home if they don’t absolutely have to go anywhere. Those who must drive are urged to drive slowly, coast toward stop signs and intersections without braking until necessary and keep a safe distance between other vehicles.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews