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Saturday morning wreck claims woman’s life

NATCHEZ — A Saturday morning traffic accident claimed the life of a Natchez woman and sent three other people to hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries, officials said.

The accident occurred shortly before 10 a.m. Saturday, said Natchez Police Chief Walter Armstrong, when an eastbound white SUV, driven by Tony Minor, 69, attempted to make a left turn, presumably to enter the Natchez Visitor’s Center parking lot from John R. Junkin Drive.

A westbound pickup truck driven by Cordarius Kelly, 23, struck the SUV in the passenger side as it attempted to cross the eastbound lane, flipping the SUV on to its side, Armstrong said.

The front seat passenger in the SUV, Betty Joyce Washington, 50, was killed from the impact, said Adams County Coroner James Lee.

The driver of the SUV and a teenage female passenger who had been riding in the back seat were transported to Rapides Medical Center in Louisiana, Armstrong said, and the driver of the pickup truck was transported to Merit Health Natchez.

Lee said he pronounced Washington dead at the scene at 10:44 a.m. Saturday.

“This was a horrible accident,” Lee said. “My prayers go out to the family. We all need to be aware and be extra careful this long holiday weekend.”

Armstrong said toxicology tests were being administered on both drivers as is required in all fatal wrecks and no charges had been filed as of late Saturday afternoon.

The investigation is continuing, Armstrong said.

Armstrong also cautioned drivers to be careful over the three-day Memorial Day Weekend.

“I want to encourage the motoring public to be very observant of other traffic and other motorists and pedestrians,” Armstrong said. “Wear your seatbelts and obey all traffic laws. If you witness any erratic driving, dial 911 to report it immediately.”

Armstrong said law enforcement officers want everyone to have a good weekend but it is law enforcement’s responsibility to keep people safe and they depend on the public to help them by reporting possible traffic offenses.