A Hinds County man who had come to Jones County to visit his wife’s grave was killed in a traffic accident a few minutes after leaving the cemetery.

Robert James “Jimmy” Patt, 85, of Byram died after the Ford Escape he was driving was struck by a big rig at the intersection of Highway 84 East and Highway 184, just outside of the Laurel city limits.

The Peterbilt wrecker, driven by 30-year-old James Kyle Cedarstaff of Petal, was headed east as Patt tried to cross the eastbound lane to head back toward Interstate 59. The truck was in the right lane and moved to the left lane to try to avoid the collision, Mississippi Highway Patrol spokesman Travis Luck said, but all of the vehicles wound up in the median.

Family members told officials that Patt had been at Memorial Gardens Cemetery, at the other end of Highway 184, at the grave of his wife Mary Gail Patt, who passed away last June. He had been there with their little dog Pug moments before the collision.

The pup ran from the accident, which occurred at approximately 11 a.m. Tuesday, but he came back to the crash scene and laid down. A call to be on the lookout for him swept social media shortly after the wreck. Passersby Blaine and Stephanie Minyard saw him at about 5 p.m. and called Lance Chancellor of the Powers Fire Department. Chancellor then called members of Southern Cross Animal Rescue, just down the road.

After a quick checkup by a veterinarian, Pug was reunited with members of the Patt’s family. Sawmill Animal Hospital did the free checkup, according to SCAR’s Facebook page, where members wrote, “Thank you to everyone who searched for him and shared his story to help find him!”

Powers Fire & Rescue responded along with the Jones County Sheriff’s Department, EMServ and the Mississippi Highway Patrol. Trooper Chris Walker is the investigating officer.

Patt was transported by EMServ to South Central Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

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