Icy roads lead to three deaths in region


By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – A weather system that brought icy rain to north Mississippi caused three fatalities Wednesday on the slick roads.

The deaths were blamed on iced-over highways.

Wednesday’s accidents came after freezing rain began falling early in the morning. Dozens of accidents were reported, and two of them, both on ice-over bridges, caused the three deaths.

In Alcorn County, Felipe Manguila, 44, of Corinth died in a single vehicle accident on U.S. Highway 72. Trooper for Troop F Ray Hall said Manguila lost control of his vehicle while crossing an icy bridge. The vehicle left the road and flipped several times before striking another vehicle that was disabled on the side of the road.

At the same time of Manguila’s accident, another man who slid into a bridge had to be extracted from his truck and airlifted to a Memphis area hospital.

In Monroe County, Dale Tate, 39, and Earnest York, 41, both of Starkville were killed when the truck in which they were riding crossed an icy bridge on U.S. Highway 45 Alternate and flipped several times. Two more men in the truck, which Tate was driving, suffered minor injuries.

All three fatality victims were ejected from the vehicles and were not wearing seat belts.

The weather made travel hazardous across the region. Between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., troopers in Troop F responded to about 50 automobile crashes and assisted nearly 40 stranded motorists.

Troop F consists of the counties of Lee, Prentiss, Union, Alcorn, Pontotoc, Tippah, Tishomingo, Benton and Itawamba.

Hall said bridges caused the most problems for motorists.

“People had problems driving over the bridges,” said Hall. “The roads were fairly clear and ice-free, so when people were driving 75 mph and all of a sudden hit that ice on the bridge they spun out. Speed and ice just don’t mix and today proved that. It’s hard to see when ice accumulates over a bridge so these are the most dangerous areas for motorists.”

Tupelo officers reported several accidents but nothing serious, according to Lt. Tim Clouse. Clouse said several people had to be pulled from ditches, but no one was injured. After 8 a.m., he said, everything went back to normal. No major injuries were reported in Lee County.

The weather also resulted in school closings through the area.

With temperatures rising slightly over the next few days, the threat of more icy rain is gone. But the National Weather Service in Memphis did forecast a slight chance of snow for the weekend, but none is expected to stick.

Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or danza.johnson@djournal.com.

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