Highway Patrol identifies Crosby accident victim

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 17, 2003

CROSBY &045;&045; The identity of a special education teacher who was killed Thursday morning in a head-on crash on Mississippi 33 just south of Crosby was confirmed by the Mississippi Highway Patrol Friday.

Gwen Sims, 45, of Fayette was pronounced dead at the scene of the two-vehicle accident, according to Sgt. Rod Crawford of the Highway Patrol’s Troop M.

Sims was driving southbound in her Honda passenger car at 7:09 a.m. when her vehicle crossed the center line and collided with a northbound 18-wheeler, Crawford said.

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Sims was not wearing a seat belt, but an air bag in her vehicle did deploy, Crawford said. The truck driver, 45-year-old Randy Dugas of Scott, La., was wearing a seat belt and was not injured, Crawford said.

Dugas was driving to Fayette to pick up a load of oilfield equipment.

His 2001 International truck was leased from Penske Truck Leasing of Lafayette, La., Crawford said.

Dugas told officers he braked his vehicle and sounded his air horn but was unable to avoid the collision, Crawford said.

Crawford said physical evidence at the scene indicated considerable braking by Dugas.

Crawford said statements were also taken from a third driver who witnessed the accident.

Sims was enroute from Fayette to Finch Elementary School in Centreville where she taught special education for 23 years, according to Wilkinson County School Superintendent Mildred McGhee.

McGhee said counselors were sent to the school Thursday morning to assist grief-stricken students and staff members. &uot;She was an excellent teacher and a very caring person,&uot; McGhee said.