Franklin star dies in wreck

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 15, 2000

Tragedy struck Franklin County Monday, as 17-year-old Franklin senior Rodrick Wells was killed in an automobile accident at 7:12 a.m.

Wells, in addition to being an above-average student, was a stand-out basketball player, according to Franklin coach Chris Jordan.

&uot;He was a very good athlete,&uot; Jordan said. &uot;He had worked so hard on his game this summer. He was a model student. He was just a great person to be around.&uot;

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According to a Mississippi Highway Patrol spokesperson, Wells’ vehicle was struck by an 18-wheeler driven by Levoy W. Knight, 50, of Franklinton, La.

Police listed the probable cause of the accident as &uot;a failure to yield,&uot; but could not say which operator was at fault.

The accident took place on U.S. 98, about two miles west of Mississippi Highway 570, police said. Jordan added that the accident was very near Wells’ Smithdale home.

&uot;It was just so sudden,&uot; Jordan said. &uot;It’s such terrible loss to our program and our school.&uot;

Wells averaged around 10 points and five rebounds a game as a power forward for the Bulldogs last year, Jordan said, but the loss of key seniors had made Wells the &uot;go-to guy,&uot; in the coming season.

&uot;We had plans to get him more touches,&uot; Jordan said. &uot;He was going to be our main offensive player.&uot;

Wells’ teammates and peers were visibly upset when they heard the news of his death, Jordan said.

&uot;He was easy to be friends with,&uot; he said. &uot;He was a people person. He knew how to get along with everybody.&uot;

Wells had a future in basketball, Jordan said. A summer basketball camp in Ft. Walron Beach, Fla., gave Wells exposure to major Florida colleges, Jordan said, and Wells had received letters of interest from schools such as Florida University, Florida State University and University of Miami.

&uot;I had just talked to him last night. He called and asked me to bring some tapes to make a highlight film for him,&uot; Jordan said. &uot;When I drove past the accident, those tapes were next to me on the seat.&uot;

Wells lived with his mother, Sheila Ramsey. His father, Tommy Wells, lives in Jackson.