2 teens killed in crash on U.S. 84

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 24, 2010

NATCHEZ — Two Natchez teenagers died and another person was injured as a result of an early Saturday morning vehicle crash on U.S. 84.

Skyelah Christian Hinson, 19, 49 Duck Pond Road, and Mary Katy Barnes, 16, 160 Cardinal Drive, were driving from Old Highway 84 No. 2 near Fenwick and attempting to enter U.S. 84 when their car was broadsided by a vehicle traveling east at 1:39 a.m. Saturday.

The 2001 Cadillac driven by Yarmell S. Washington, 28, 18 Lincoln Heights Road, impacted the driver’s side of the Taurus Hinson was driving.

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“They crossed the eastbound lane and appeared to be coming over to the westbound lane,” Mississippi Highway Patrol Sgt. Rusty Boyd said. “It appeared that they failed to yield to the Cadillac.

“(Washington) was wearing a seat belt and (Hinson and Barnes) were not,” Boyd said.

Adams County Coroner James Lee pronounced Hinson dead at the scene of the accident.

“This was a terrible accident,” Lee said. “It’s every parent’s nightmare.”

Barnes was transported to Natchez Regional Medical Center where she was then airlifted to University Medical Center in Jackson.

She died at approximately 9 a.m. Saturday at University Medical Center.

Washington was sent to Natchez Community Hospital and treated for moderate injuries and released.

Lee said as the driver of the vehicle, Hinson was set to undergo an autopsy on Saturday.

For family members and friends of Hinson and Barnes, the news of their loved ones’ deaths has yet to sink in.

“We’re in shock,” Hinson’s oldest brother Gregory Hinson said. “Our whole family has been through a lot in the last three years. We lost our dad May 8, 2007.”

Gregory Hinson said if there is one thing he wants people to remember most about his sister it is her capacity to love.

“She was not only beautiful on the outside, but she was beautiful on the inside, too. There wasn’t a person that she met that she didn’t love,” Hinson said.

Both young ladies’ families said Hinson and Barnes were joined at the hip from an early age.

“They’ve known each other since Katy was 5 and Skyelah was 7, and they’ve been best friends ever since,” Barnes’ mother Barbara Barnes said.

Both home-schooled students, Hinson and Barnes’ friendship was born from the close proximity in which the girls lived.

“(Our families) have always lived within a four-mile difference of each other for the last eight years,” Hinson’s first cousin Hunter Hinson said.

That proximity led to many adventures for Hinson and Barnes, family members said.

“They were the terror of the neighborhood,” Barbara Barnes said. “They were good kids. They didn’t do anything bad. They were just around everywhere.”

But unlike when they were children, Barbara Barnes said she didn’t know where the girls were on Saturday morning.

“We really didn’t even know they were out. They weren’t supposed to be,” she said. “I made her promise me before I dropped her off at Skyelah’s that they wouldn’t go anywhere.”

Friend of six years Nathan Aulridge, said while he wasn’t aware of the girls’ plans for Friday night and Saturday morning, Barnes and Hinson were set to meet with their group of friends Saturday night.

Aulridge said he and Hinson were as close as family and he considered Barnes to be his best friend.

“Everyone has that one person you can turn to no matter how bad the situation is, and Katy was mine,” Aulridge said.

“Once you got to know them, they were two of the two best people you could know,” Aulridge said. “No matter what you did, they were always there for you.”

Both families said they plan on meeting today to begin making funeral arrangements and offer support to one another.