Cooler causes bridge wreck

Published 10:05 pm Friday, August 17, 2007

NATCHEZ — A loose cooler was the apparent reason for a wreck on the westbound Mississippi River bridge Friday, Natchez Police said.

Natchez Police received the call at 2:32 p.m., Natchez Police Chief Mike Mullins said.

Dan E. Brister, 70, 8 Hollywood Plantation, Vidalia, was driving his 2004 Chevrolet van when he tried to dodge a cooler that had fallen off another vehicle, Mullins said.

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“He slammed on the breaks to avoid it,” Mullins said. “When he stopped, the cooler was lodged under his vehicle.”

When Brister stopped suddenly, a 2002 Chevrolet pickup driven by Nelson Mize, 21, 1303 Peach St., Vidalia, rear-ended Brister’s vehicle, Mullins said.

The two drivers, along with a passenger in Mize’s car, were taken to Natchez Community Hospital with complaints of neck pain, Mullins said. They were treated and released.

The wreck backed up cars past the stop light at Canal Street for 20 to 30 minutes, he said.

Mullins said accidents such as Friday’s often can be avoided by not following closely behind another vehicle.

“You need to be at least one car-length behind the car in front of you for every 10 miles per hour of speed,” Mullins said. “So, if you’re going 50, you should be at least five car-lengths behind, minimum. Typically, people do not follow that rule, and that’s what causes a lot of rear-end collisions.”

Also, drivers should make sure any cargo in a pickup truck is secured, he said.