Columbus emergency crews responded to a two-car accident involving a Columbus Police officer that sent three elderly women to the hospital shortly after 12:00pm Sunday.
Eyewitnesses on scene told The Packet that Officer Rebecca Lomax was travelling north on Highway 45 just north of the Bluecutt intersection when she made a U-turn and began heading south near Leo’s Luxury Limousines.
One female witness said that she was driving south on 45 and began to pull over- assuming Lomax was attempting to pull her over for a traffic violation. She said that Lomax pulled up right behind her and had her lights on- but no siren. The witness said Lomax then continued past her vehicle and pulled into the right lane as she approached the Holly Hills intersection.[This witness called E-911 immediately after the accident-CK] According to witnesses in the Sprint Mart parking lot, as Lomax went through the intersection, her police cruiser struck a westbound 1996 Ford Crown Vic carrying three women headed home from church.
The front driver’s side of the cruiser struck the front passenger’s side of the ladies’ vehicle, causing it to spin out of control. The rear driver’s side of the police car again struck the Crown Vic on the passenger’s side as the two vehicles “sideswiped” each other. The impact jarred loose the hood of the Crown Vic and forced Lomax’s cruiser 45 degrees around until it came to rest facing west on Holly Hills.
The driver of the car, 76 yr-old Mary Fuller, was immediately transported to BMH-GT leg and hip injuries. Two other passengers identified Wednesday by Mississippi Highway Patrol(MHP) spokesman Trooper Brian Mobley were 78 yr-old Rebbecca Woods and 84 yr-old Arlene Gable.
Woods reportedly went to the hospital in a private vehicle and Gable was taken by paramedics complaining of head trauma and a leg injury. Kelly Martin, a Licensed Practical Nurse was headed home from church when she came upon the accident and pulled her car over to help the injured. Martin was credited by witnesses for comforting the women until BMH-GT paramedics arrived. The women were headed to Fuller’s home just up the road off of Holly Hills. They told The Packet they were returning from Kingdom Hall of Jehovah Witnesses’ Church when the accident occurred.
Dean Fuller, son of the driver Mary Fuller, spoke with the Packet this week in regards to some frustrations he has experienced with an article in The Commercial Dispatch as well as how law enforcement have handled the accident so far. Fuller took exception to The Dispatch article that indicated that Lomax was traveling on Holly Hills, was attempting to pull someone over, and that she was responding on a dispatched call. Fuller said that none of the witnesses had said anything like that at the scene, that Lomax was never turning onto Holly Hills, and was not dispatched on a call. “The Sprint Mart has video of it- I know that. It’s like they (The Dispatch) didn’t get one thing right” Fuller said. Fuller said he did contact Dispatch reporter Ryan Poe and that Poe did make an effort to correct the online version of the story. [In his defense, Ryan Poe did quote Police sources in the article which I would believe he felt were reliable. As of press time for The Dispatch Monday morning, neither the CPD of MHP had any information to release other than that officer Lomax had been in an accident- CK] Fuller also expressed frustration (as did several witnesses) at the lack of communication on scene by Police and MHP troopers. The two primary witnesses did not understand why Columbus Police were not asking them for statements and that they had to approach the MHP trooper when he arrived on scene. Fuller said that CPD officers on scene would not comment on scene about the wreck and he worried that the witnesses werent being questioned. [I was on scene, and when an officer is involved in an accident, it is common practice for the other police officers on scene not to question witnesses until another law enforcement agency arrives. In my experience they try and let the other agency handle the gathering of information to avoid any accusations of intimidation or impropriety.- CK] Dean Fuller said he wished that the Columbus Police and Highway Patrol would have made a better effort to communicate with him and his family.
Officer Lomax was involved in another wreck during the ice storm earlier this year when she responded to an officer who had been hit by a car on the shoulder of Hwy82. Lomax was suspended one day after it was determined that she was not driving cautiously enough for the icy conditions when a civilian lost control of his car in front of her and she struck the car.0