A one-car no-injury accident on Gray Highway last week appears to have been the catalyst for a second accident minutes later that sent three to the hospital.
Investigators are trying to answer the question of how the driver of a 2012 Honda Accord did not see the Jones County fire truck sitting in the middle of Gray Highway with lights flashing July 7.
The report of the first accident by Jones County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sgt. David Little stated that the 2004 Ford Ranger driven by Patrick Bledson of Gray was traveling south on Gray Highway when the driver lost control, causing the vehicle to travel off the roadway and strike a tree.
The accident was reported at 7:10 p.m.
The time of the report of the second accident by JCSO Deputy William Pruitt was 7:29 p.m. His report states the fire engine was set up with emergency lights activated in the slow lane of Gray Highway to alert drivers to move to the left lane and slow down because of the accident ahead.
He said he spoke to Sikoya Hogan, the 19-year-old driver of the Honda, who said she did not see the fire truck until she had to slam on her brakes.
Pruitt said both eyewitnesses to the accident stated that Hogan never appeared to slow down or attempt to change lanes until she slammed on the brakes. He said that caused the vehicle to go into a skid, ending with the driver side of the car hitting the rear of the fire truck.
The deputy said the side of the car was crushed inward. Damage included the driver side front and rear door, hood, roof and front fender.
He said all the persons in the vehicle were transported to the hospital. The other passengers in the car were a 12-year-old girl and 4-year-old boy.
Because of the seriousness of the injuries of the passengers in the Honda and the involvement of the fire truck, JCSO accident investigator Sgt. Robert Land was called to the scene.
Land said having a fire truck on the scene of an accident is a useful tool. He said, from what he gathered from the scene, it was still daylight when the accident happened, and the fire truck was parked to protect the first responders working the scene of the previous accident.
“For whatever reason, she did not react. She locked the brakes and it looked like she attempted to steer to the right. She went sideways,” he said.
Land said he is investigating why the driver was not paying attention. He said he was also concerned that no one in the Honda was wearing a seat belt or any kind of restraint.
The investigator said the four-year old appeared to be the most seriously injured.