Troopers ID men killed in wreck

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 14, 1999

Authorities have confirmed the identities of two men who died Sunday after their pickup truck hit a tree and burst into flames on U.S. 84.

The bodies of Mississippi Highway Patrol, Trooper First Class Delvru John Minor, 30, and Kelvin Ellis, 21, of Natchez, were burned beyond recognition during the accident.

Officials verified their identities, Monday morning, after examining dental records, said Cal Adams, Director of Public Affairs, Highway Safety Patrol, in a press release.

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Just after 7 a.m. Sunday, the men were reportedly traveling to Hattiesburg, east of McCall Creek in Franklin County, when the accident occurred.

&uot;A witness said the truck left the highway, crashed into a tree and burst into flames,&uot; Adams said.

The truck in the accident, a 1998 Chevrolet, was registered to Minor, but authorities believe that Ellis was driving. Officials do not think alcohol or drugs were involved in the accident.

&uot;There has been no indication of that whatsoever,&uot; Adams said.

Minor, who was not on duty at the time of the crash, joined the Highway Patrol in 1994. He had worked for the Brookhaven District (which includes Natchez) but recently was transferred to the Hattiesburg District.

Ellis, a former student at Copiah-Lincoln Community College, was attending the University of Southern Mississippi. He had recently become apartment-mates with Minor, said Ellis’ friend, Elizabeth Bacon. Minor was reportedly in the process of moving his possessions to his new location this weekend, the press release said. There were no skid marks at the scene but officials could not confirm the speed of the vehicle or if Ellis fell asleep at the wheel.

&uot;With them (being) the only two in the truck it’s impossible to say whether he fell asleep at the wheel,&uot; Adams said.

Apparently, Ellis lost control of the vehicle but we will probably never know all the circumstances, Adams added.

Lt. Col. Marvin Curtis Jr., Chief of the Uniform Division of the MHP expressed shock and dismay at the news of Minor’s death.

&uot;Trooper Minor had all the attributes we look for in a trooper,&uot;&160;Curtis said. &uot;He was a positive influence wherever he went, and he had a long future with the patrol in front of him.&uot;

Minor is survived by a young daughter.

&uot;His death will leave a big void in both the patrol and in his own family,&uot;&160;Curtis said. &uot;Our prayers are with his family and friends.&uot;

Ellis was the son of Rev. Willie Ellis and Estelle Ellis. His family and friends spent the Monday reflecting on his life.

&uot;We’ve all been sitting in the house thinking of things he used to say and the way he made us laugh,&uot; Bacon said. &uot;He was just happy. He always had a smile on his face.&uot;

Ellis, nicknamed Rev. Ellis by his peers, was known for having a strong faith in God.

&uot;He was very comfortable with his relationship with God and his family,&uot; said Gwen McCalip, Academic Counselor at Co-Lin. &uot;(And) he was not ashamed to share this information with others.&uot;