Three teens were on an ATV that crashed with a car in Hebron on Friday afternoon, and two of them were hospitalized after being airlifted, first-responders said.
Witnesses said three young men on an ATV turned onto Summerland Road and collided with a tan-colored Chevy Impala that was headed south on Quit Graves Road around 3:30 that day.
Aboard the ATV were 17-year-old Detorurean Crosby, 16-year-old Devin Neal and 19-year-old Rondell Jones, all of Soso. Crosby and Jones are both recent graduates of West Jones High School, and Neal will be a senior at WJHS during this school year.
The driver of the Chevrolet Impala was identified as 57-year-old Lee Pickering and his passenger was 66-year-old Bobby Page. Both were tended to by emergency medical responders but suffered no serious injuries.
Gerald Moody of the Hebron Volunteer Fire Department was the first to arrive on the scene. Crosby and Neal were found injured and transported by helicopter to South Central Regional Medical Center in Laurel. Neal was later transferred to Jackson for immediate surgery, having suffered several broken bones, including a fractured skull and ribs, along with bruising on the brain and one of his lungs.
“When I arrived on the scene, we had the driver of the four-wheeler (Neal) lying in the middle of the road on his back, we had another gentleman (Crosby) laying in the ditch with a fractured leg and (Jones) had jumped off just before the collision, so he didn’t get hurt,” Moody said.
Victoria Graves, who witnessed the accident, said she and a family member rushed into the road to direct oncoming traffic away from Neal and prevent any further injuries.
“He was bleeding from his nose and gasping for air,” Graves said. “I called 911, and we stood in front of him to flag down the vehicles that were coming by. I kept telling him, ‘Just hold on, Devin, it’s going to be OK.’”
The ATV was towed from its landing point on the road roughly 10 yards from the point of impact, and the car was retrieved from the ditch nearly 15 yards farther south.
Concerning the matter of ATVs being operated on public roads, Jones County Sheriff Joe Berlin said his department “discourages the illegal use of unauthorized vehicles in these areas.”
“We understand that a lot of people like to use them as a means to get back and forth from small distances between family members,” Berlin said, “but the problem is that many of these ATVs aren’t equipped for public road conditions, and most of the time they aren’t following the traffic safety laws to keep themselves safe. In this situation, that caused a lot of harm to those who were involved and their families.”
Crosby and Neal were both still hospitalized and recovering from surgery as of Monday morning, but each is expected to make a full recovery.