Man wearing seat belt walks away from accident on Auburn Avenue

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 19, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; Police Chief Mike Mullins is glad that Anthony Antione Jackson was wearing his seat belt Friday afternoon.

He was also glad he didn&8217;t have to rescue Jackson from the side of the road, or, worse, have to call the coroner.

Instead Mullins found Jackson standing, visibly shaken, beside his upside down car on Auburn Avenue near the entrance of Duncan Park.

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Jackson, 29, of 245 Country Club Drive, was driving his 1993 Oldsmobile toward the park when he struck a crape myrtle tree on the side of the road, flipping it over, blocking both lanes of traffic.

It is not clear what caused Jackson to veer off the road, Mullins said.

&8220;All indications were that he was wearing a seat belt,&8221; Mullins said pointing to the fact that the seat belt in the car had been extended.

With help from the driver behind him, Jackson crawled out of his car.

An ambulance was called to the scene, but Jackson refused the service.

The car was totaled, Mullins said.

&8220;When his vehicle flipped, he could have been thrown from the vehicle and been seriously hurt or killed,&8221; Mullins said.

&8220;Very often a person (who is not wearing his seat belt) is partially ejected from the car,&8221; Mullins said. &8220;Then the car can roll over him.&8221;

Mullins said this is especially true in high centered vehicles, like some pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles.

On July 7, Dominique N. Nicholson was thrown from her SUV when it collided with another vehicle on D&8217;Evereux Drive.

According to police her car flipped five times over a distance of 120 feet. Nicholson was flung into the ravine next to the road. She was not wearing her seat belt.

Nicholson was sent to the hospital and released less than five hours after the accident.

&8220;She is very, very fortunate,&8221; Mullins said. &8220;It is very unusual that she was not severely injured, paralyzed or killed.&8221;

As of May 29, drivers in Mississippi can be ticketed for not wearing their seatbelt as a primary offense.

Before then, drivers had to be stopped for another driving violation before being ticketed for not wearing their seat belt.

Under the Mississippi statute, drivers ticketed for not wearing their seat belt will be fined $25.