Bridge wreck kills one; alcohol involved

Published 12:48 am Monday, May 19, 2008

VIDALIA — Alcohol was a factor in a multi-car accident on the Mississippi River bridge early Sunday morning, Vidalia Police said.

One person was killed and several others injured in what was at least a four-car accident Vidalia Police Captain Arthur Lewis said.

Lewis said the exact number of cars and the number of people involved was unknown because some cars reportedly fled the scene before police arrived.

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“We still have witnesses and people that were in these vehicles coming in (to the police station), Lewis said late Sunday night. “Most of the people in the vehicles left the scene. They caught rides with friends that were following them.”

Lewis said it’s possible that more than one accident occurred. Four cars sustained major damage.

The Natchez-bound Mississippi River Bridge was closed for more than 10 hours due to the accident.

Vidalia Police responded to the call at 4:01 a.m. and were still on the scene after lunch Sunday.

Police worked until approximately 2:30 Sunday to reconstruct the scene. The Natchez-bound bridge was closed to all traffic during this time. Cars traveled east and west in the Vidalia-bound bridge.

Lewis said the matter is still under investigation and the department is waiting for results from investigators.

Until then, Lewis said no information about how the accident occurred would be disseminated.

“It was a real mess out there,” Lewis said.

Lewis said at least two people were transported to a hospital in Jackson and were in critical condition. Others were treated and released at Natchez Regional Medical Center, he said.

And police asked all local hospitals to report any possible accident-related injuries that were brought in during the day.

Lewis said many of those involved were from Concordia Parish, but he would not release names of the dead or injured because all family members had not been contacted.

Those involved ranged between the ages of 19 and 25, he said.

Cedric A. Hunter, 24, of Natchez, was arrested on charges of DWI, first offense. He was released on bond.

Lewis said more charges were likely.

“We know alcohol played a great part in this,” Lewis said.

The Louisiana State Police, the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Vidalia Fire Department also assisted at the scene and during investigations.

The eastbound bridge was re-opened at 2:35 p.m.