Community prays for crash victims
Published 12:06 am Tuesday, March 11, 2014
NATCHEZ — Tyler Brumfield was everyone’s best friend.
The Natchez native, Adams County Christian School graduate and Copiah-Lincoln Community College student died Sunday evening in a two-vehicle collision on U.S. 61 South that left others severely injured.
Members of the community gathered at the flagpole outside of ACCS Monday evening for a prayer vigil for those involved in the wreck.
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Brumfield, 20, played on the ACCS baseball team and had the prettiest left-handed swing friend and former classmate Kevin Campbell ever saw.
“Everything about him and his swing was just smooth,” Campbell said. “We spent our lives together from pre-kindergarten until graduating at ACCS and then going to Co-Lin together, so it’s almost like I lost a brother.”
Campbell said the two were inseparable for much of their time in high school inside and outside the halls of ACCS.
Brumfield spent a lot of time at Springfield Baptist Church, where Campbell and a few other friends attend services and play youth softball.
Natchez resident Jody Stevens, who at attends Springfield, said she and her husband grew close to Brumfield during his time at the church.
“You never saw him without a smile,” Stevens said. “He was just a wonderful young man who had the best heart.”
Stevens said Brumfield would volunteer for the annual Cox Hill Fall Festival, and she’ll never forgot one year when he put on a wedding dress for the haunted house.
“We were going through the scene to make sure everything was setup, and there was this lady who was supposed to have the wedding dress on,” Stevens said. “We come around the corner, and there’s Tyler in this wedding dress, and I could not stop laughing.
“He was always up to something, but it was always in a good spirit.”
Former classmate Sage Atkins said it was those types of friendly antics that made Brumfield such a good friend to have.
“If I was having a bad day, I could just text him and he would say something smart or funny that would make it all better,” Atkins said. “He always put a smile on anybody’s face no matter what the circumstances.”
Atkins said the realization that Brumfield is actually gone hadn’t quite set in as of Monday.
“I’m still in shock, and it just seems like a dream,” Atkins said. “A lot of people don’t realize what they have until it’s gone, and that’s definitely one the circumstances with Tyler.”
For Campbell, the thought of not being able to see Brumfield is the hardest thing to deal with.
“We have peace because we know where Tyler is — he is in heaven right now,” Campbell said. “It’s not where he’s at now, it’s just that he’s not here that’s difficult to deal with.”
Former ACCS baseball coach Hunter McKeivier, who coached Brumfield for five years, said the loss was one felt deeply nearly 200 miles away in Richton, where he now coaches.
“As a coach, these kids become a part of your life and a part of your family, and (Brumfield) is one of those kids that was a huge part of me,” McKeivier said. “He was one of those kids that loved everything about the game and that’s a rarity these days.
“It’s a very tough lose for the community and for me.”
Brumfield was driving southbound on U.S. 61 at approximately 7:40 p.m. Sunday when he attempted to make a left turn onto Kingston Road.
His vehicle collided with another vehicle heading northbound on U.S. 61.
April Nikki Worthey, 20, of Natchez was traveling in Brumfield’s passenger seat and was airlifted to Rapides Regional Medical Center in Alexandria with severe injuries.
The driver of the other car was transported by ambulance to Natchez Regional Medical Center along with the front seat passenger while a back seat passenger was airlifted to Rapides Regional with severe injuries.
The cause of the collision is under investigation by the Mississippi Highway Patrol.