Gulfport sees 19 car crashes in one dry, sunny Monday

Driver charged with DUI after four-car wreck on 49 in Gulfport

Witness describes a four-car wreck on US 49 in Gulfport on Monday. Three people were taken to area hospitals.
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Witness describes a four-car wreck on US 49 in Gulfport on Monday. Three people were taken to area hospitals.

A driver who caused a four-car accident that went across north- and southbound lanes of U.S. 49 in Gulfport on Monday morning will be charged with driving under the influence, police said.

The wreck was part of a busy day for Gulfport police. The department Tweeted at 3:13 p.m. they had investigated 14 crashes involving over 30 vehicles. An hour later, it was up to 19 and counting.

The four-vehicle wreck happened about 10:30 a.m. Monday and sent three drivers to the hospital, although Gulfport police spokesman Sgt. Josh Bromen said all the injuries appeared to be minor.

According to Gulfport police, a Nissan Frontier pickup driven by Joel Peresich of Saucier, was northbound on U.S. 49 when it ran into the rear end of a Chevrolet Malibu, pushing it into the rear of an 18-wheeler traveling north.

The Frontier then crossed seven lanes of traffic and hit a Pontiac Sebring head-on in the southbound lane. The Frontier came to rest in front of Dunaway Plaza. The Sebring was forced off the road and came to rest in the grass just north of Dunaway.

Gulfport police said Peresich was charged with DUI and driving without proof of insurance.

He was released on summons to appear in court on the charges.

A witness at the scene said he saw an open beer bottle in the cup holder of the truck.

Other wrecks include an overturned 18-wheeler on Rippy Road that caused traffic delays in the area, and another 18-wheeler that ended up in a ditch nearby on Creosote Road.

The drivers of the Sebring and the Malibu and Peresich were all taken to the hospital for treatment. The driver of the 18-wheeler was not injured.

The Malibu sustained heavy damage in front and back. The Sebring has heavy damage in the front and the Frontier had heavy damage to the front.

Peresich, who had a head wound and was wearing a neck brace, tried to leave the scene of the accident after paramedics got him out of the truck, but he was restrained by first-responders and taken to the hospital.

John Fitzhugh: 228-896-2193, @JFitzhughPhoto