LAMAR COUNTY, Mississippi- The Clarion Ledger reports that two Sumrall, Mississippi volunteer firefighters working a wreck scene in Lamar County are dead after allegedly being struck by a hit-and-run driver.
Sheriff Danny Rigel said that the firefighters were directing traffic at a dump truck accident on Mississippi 589 at Oloh Road when they were hit by a driver who fled the scene.
Coroner Cody Creel identified them as Clinton Alvin Beasley, 80, and Loretta Ann Sykes, 53. They died of blunt force trauma. Creel said he got the call about 6:40 p.m.
Authorities say another person was injured and was transported to a local hospital. His status is unknown.
Rigel said the incident took place in the city of Sumrall but both Lamar county and the Mississippi Highway Patrol are assisting with the investigation.
“This is rocking Lamar County and Sumrall to the core, I don’t know that we’ve ever lost two firefighters on duty in the history of Lamar County,” Rigel said. “Sumrall is a small town and everyone knows everyone. This is really tragic. It has really affected the deputies, Sumrall police officers, first responders. They were part of the family, it’s shaken us all.”
Lamar County deputies have taken the driver of the vehicle that allegedly struck the firefighters into custody. Rigel said he was stopped in a residential neighborhood.
Authorities are getting a search warrant for blood tests on the driver, Rigel said. He is charged with felony leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, but further charges are expected.
Meanwhile, Lamar County first responders have a long coping and healing process ahead.
“Right now we’re working on autopilot because that’s what we’re trained to do, you have to put your emotions aside and do what has to be done,” Rigel said. “But I’m going to try to get counselors available for my guys who were out there. It’s tough.”