MHP reports less crashes, fatalities over Thanksgiving weekend

A total of 171 collisions over the Thanksgiving weekend killed two people and injured 67, according to numbers reported by the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

That’s a decrease of nearly 23 percent from 221 crashes reported over the same holiday period last year, when crashes claimed four lives and injured 73 people, statistics show. Eight crashes statewide this holiday period were reported as alcohol-related, including one in South Mississippi.

The MHP’s holiday traffic enforcement period began at 6 p.m. Wednesday and ended at midnight Sunday.

A total of 17 crashes were reported in the six southernmost counties patrolled by the MHP’s Biloxi-based Troop K.

MHP observed heavy traffic throughout the period and anticipates the number of motorists traveling to increase due to the upcoming December holiday period.

Mississippi Highway Patrol Capt. Johnny Poulos

Statewide, troopers wrote a total of 5,309 citations, including 3,622 hazardous violations and 67 DUI arrests.

In South Mississippi, troopers wrote a total of 577 citations, including 333 hazardous violations and 10 DUI arrests.

“MHP observed heavy traffic throughout the period and anticipates the number of motorists traveling to increase due to the upcoming December holiday period,” MHP Capt. Johnny Poulos said in a news release.

State troopers also responded to a hostage situation in Grenada and an officer-involved shooting in Hattiesburg, he said.

The fatalities

A head-on collision early Thursday claimed the life of Carnell Gardner, 42, of Ita Bena, on U.S. 82 in Leflore County, Poulos said.

Gardner, driving a 2003 Lexus, lost control of the Lexus as it left the road. The car re-entered the highway, crossed the center line and collided with a 2016 Freightliner, Poulos said. The 18-wheeler was driven by Eric Trusty, 28, of Grenada. Gardner died at the scene.

On Sunday, a one-vehicle crash in Wayne County claimed the life of Amy Trau, 60, of Avon, Illinois. She was a front-seat passenger ejected from a vehicle driven by her husband, Poulos said.

Michael Trau, 60, lost control of a 2005 Chevrolet Trailblazer and it overturned, he said. Amy Trau died at Wayne County General Hospital.

MHP Thanksgiving weekend traffic report

A statewide report with a breakdown of statistics by Troop K, MHP’s Biloxi-based region patrolling the six southernmost counties.

Statewide: 5309 citations and arrests; includes 3,622 hazardous citations, 1,473 non-hazardous citations; 67 DUIs, 18 drug arrests; 6 felony arrests; 97 seat belt citations, 26 child restraint citations. Investigated 171 collisions (8 alcohol related) that killed two people and injured 67 people.

South Mississippi: 577 citations and arrests; includes 333 hazardous citations; 229 non-hazardous citations; 10 DUI arrests; 1 drug arrest; 3 seat belt citations; 1 child restraint citation.

MHP regions with highest numbers

Hazardous violations, 627, the Pearl region.

DUI arrests, 13, the New Albany region.

Seat beat citations, 22, the Meridian region.

Child restraint citations, 6, the Hattiesburg region.

Collision injuries, 11 each in Biloxi and Meridian regions.