Interstate Wrecks Raise Questions

By: Stan Torgerson
By: Stan Torgerson

We now know the scene of the accident in which an 18-wheeler plowed into eight cars, killing two people and injuring others was not a construction site.

A representative of APAC, the company doing the work at the accident scene told NewsCenter 11 Friday they had a crew cleaning brush and trees from the shoulder of the interstate.

It was necessary, the company said, to narrow the highway down to one lane. But there was so much traffic it backed up to where the single line was so long it would have been one and a quarter miles before the drivers would have come to a warning sign.

Under state law the contractor, is responsible for highway safety signage, not the police or highway patrol.

In film we shot Friday you can see the orange and white barrels and warning signs but where the accident occurred no driver had yet seen them. Meridian Police Chief Benny Dubose is still mystified as the exact cause of the accident.

"There were no indications of skid marks on the scene," said Chief Dubose. "It appears that the truck was unable to hit brakes in time to stop and just ploughed into the vehicles that were stopped for the construction."

Capt. Jon Howard, commander of the Meridian Highway Patrol district, Troop H, said he doubted if even a flagman at the site would have prevented the accident.

"I wish that would be a cure all for the project so to speak but unfortunately, as you know, just a matter of weeks ago there was a flagman run over flagging traffic at another site over in the Jackson district," said Howard. "Struck and killed him. People need to pay attention. It doesn't matter how many signs you have out there, if they're not going to pay attention to the signs that are there it doesn't do any good to put them up."

Unfortunately, in this case those involved had not yet gotten to the signs.

The name of the second fatality, Raphael Goodwin, 48, of Meridian, was released Friday also.

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