MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Five people, ages 12 to 19, were killed in Batesville, Mississippi after their car hit a bridge and fell into a creek Tuesday night.
According to the Panola County Sheriff’s Office, six people, all of them related, were riding in a car that was driving west on Curtis Road.
The car ran off the road and hit a bridge. After hitting the bridge, the car went into a creek.
The following victims did not survive: Montraz Webster, 14; Ti’taiera Webster, 19; Jamerian Towns, 12; Earl Holmes, 13; and Destiny Liphford, 15.
A sixth passenger, a 14-year-old girl, survived the crash.
The cause of the crash is unknown but Panola County Sheriff Shane Phelps confirmed a 19-year-old was driving.
Latours Holmes is traumatized after losing her 15-year-old daughter Destiny Liphford.
“I really don’t know my emotions. I never felt this way. I never thought I’d have to think about burying my baby, none of my kids,” Holmes said. “It hurts. It hurts and I just want to tell everybody to hug they kids cause you never know when they gonna be gone.”
Panola County Sheriff Shane Phelps is calling the 14-year-old’s survival nothing short of a miracle.
“She was able to get out of the vehicle. She climbed on top of the vehicle and she knew she had to get help,” Phelps said.
More than two dozen family members filled the Panola County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday. It was an emotional gathering that was too much for some to experience. Deputies who made the scene Tuesday are also trying to cope.
“It was heartbreaking. I never saw nothing like that, never. After 20 years of being in law enforcement, I never in my life saw nothing like that,” said Lt. Maurice Market.
Sheriff Phelps, who has more than 25 years in law enforcement, could not hold back his tears.
“People that don’t work in this line of work, they just don’t understand,” he said.
The victims attended South Panola Junior High and High School.
“South Panola School District is heartbroken and saddened by the tragic passing of five of our current and former students. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends, faculty, staff, and classmates,” the school district said in a statement Wednesday.
Students we spoke with at the school said this hits way too close to home.
“I was very devastated. I wanted to cry in the middle of class, but I didn’t. I waited until I got home to really think about it because we lost a classmate,” said senior Keuntre Shegog.
Sophomore Devin Washington said he had gym class with one of them.
“He was always energetic, always ready to play. And even after we got out of the class, I would see him, he would come up to me and say ‘Hey do you remember me? Do you remember me in gym?’ He always seemed like a kind-hearted young man,” Washington said.
The district said grief counselors have been provided for faculty, staff, and students.
Deputies are still investigating the cause of the accident.