Natchez police car involved in accident

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 3, 2009

NATCHEZ — A Natchez Police Department vehicle was totaled Friday night when a car pulled out in front of the officer on Seargent S. Prentiss Drive.

Police Chief Mike Mullins said officer Lee Mizell was in the outside lane traveling south to an activated alarm call when a 1999 Pontiac Grand Am facing north in the center turn lane turned left in front of the patrol unit.

“It was failure to yield,” Mullins said. “She turned left in front of him across traffic and struck the front right side of the car.”

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The Grand Am drove into a ditch on the right hand side of the road, near Western Auto, Mullins said.

Driver Kendra Sylvester, 31, 3 Spring St., was taken by ambulance to Natchez Community Hospital. She was alert at the scene but complained of shoulder pain.

Her two passengers — husband Otis Isaac, 33, and her 10-year-old son — and Mizell were also transported to the hospital via ambulance complaining of pain. Mizell had back, arm and leg pain.

The accident occurred at approximately 5:40 p.m.

“Witnesses claim the patrol car was traveling with traffic and the Grand Am turned in front of him,” Mullins said. “It appears he was going at a normal speed. He was not in emergency mode.”

Sylvester was issued two tickets, one for no proof of insurance and another for driving under suspension. Her license was suspended for unpaid traffic tickets, Mullins said.

Her car sustained heavy damage.

The police car was a 2004 Ford Crown Victoria. Mullins said the department would be able to handle the car shortage for a few months.

Normally, two officers are assigned to each vehicle, driving it in opposite shifts. If needed, a third officer could be added. But Mullins said he thought they would be able to maintain the standard schedule.

New vehicles were ordered in December and should arrive in March.

Mizell has been with the department for less than two years, Mullins said.