Lowndes County emergency responders rushed to the scene of a two vehicle wreck Sunday afternoon that sent three victims to the hospital. Around 4:30pm Sunday afternoon, Joshua Jourdan, 26, and Alex Pate, 24, were traveling north on Hwy 373 in Jourdan’s 1997 Toyota Avalon when an out-of-control southbound pickup crossed over into their lane causing both vehicles to leave the road.
Vernon Tarkowski, aged 47, lost control of his white Dodge Ram 1500 and crossed in front of the oncoming sedan. The Avalon “t-boned” the full-size pickup which propelled both vehicles off of the East side of the highway before coming to rest near the tree line. Tarkowski suffered severe head trauma when he reportedly flew into the windshield of the truck after the impact. The collision left him temporarily unconscious. Jourdan and Pate were wearing their seatbelts and both airbags in the car were deployed. Pate is scheduled to have surgery on his hand Friday. Jourdan suffered and broken foot and a severely sprained knee in the accident.
Lowndes County District 2 Volunteers Paul Dorrance, Bill Connelly and Ryan Connelly arrived on scene within minutes of the E-911 dispatch to find the two young men being comforted by good Samaratin Christy Dillon. Dillon, who lives just North of the accident scene, said she ran from her home when she heard a loud noise:
“I just heard a huge bang! I came running just as fast as I could” Dillon said.
Dillon stayed with Pate and Jourdan until BMH-GT paramedics arrived to stabilize them. Paramedics got on scene around 4:37p.m. and begin working on all three victims.
Lowndes County Deputies William Spann and Michael Dulaney arrived seconds later and began assisting the rescue effort. Volunteer George Nonamaker worked alongside the deputies to stabilize the two young men while attention turned to the driver of the truck.
Another good Samaritn, registered nurse Stephanie Witmore, had been passing by and saw the wreckage. She immediately jumped out help Tarkowski. Witmore had climbed into the bed of the mangled truck and shimmied through the rear window to comfort Tarkowski while volunteers used pneumatic pincers to pry open the severely damaged doors. Tarkowski was removed shortly before 5 p.m. and brought to Aberdeen to rendezvous with a Careflight Helicopter. He was brought to Tupelo in critical condition, and was last reported in stable condition on Monday afternoon. Tarkwoski likely hampered his own rescue by initially telling those on scene that someone else had been in the car with him. Volunteers raced to the nearby woods to see if someone else had been either ejected or fled the scene. Tarkowski came clean just as he was being pulled out of the cab of the truck.
“Tell them I’m sorry…I’ve been drinking some…please tell them I’m sorry” Tarkowski said as he was brought from his truck to the waiting stretcher.
Evidence of his drinking was present inside the cab of his Ram truck. Several empty cans of beer were strewn about the floor. Tarkowski’s truck left tread marks for nearly 200 ft on the shoulder of the road before it impacted an MDOT sign (ripping one pole in half) and slamming into Jourdan’s car.