The lives of a Lowndes County family were spared Monday when their SUV flipped into a drainage ditch on Gunshoot Rd. Cordie “Beth” Murphree was driving South on Gunshoot Rd. with her family in her 2001 Kia Sportage when she was struck by a pickup truck attempting to turn in front of her at the Sand Rd. intersection. According to Lowndes County officials, 17 yr. old James Welch said he didn’t see the SUV when he attempted to turn his 2005 Ford F-150 onto Sand Rd.The collision sent the small SUV onto the Eastern gravel shoulder and then it tumbled head-over-heels into a drainage ditch filled with water from the weekend rains.
Beth Murphree, who nearly lost a finger in the accident, managed to free herself from the overturned vehicle and wade through the water to rescue the two small children in the back of the Kia. According to a witness on scene, she was able to remove 23 month-old Easton Murphree and young Sophie Minor, who were left hanging suspended from their car seats. After getting the children to safety, she reportedly returned to the vehicle to pull her fiancee, 27-year-old Kevin Minor from the passenger seat. After the family was safe on the shoulder of the road, Beth Murphree called her mother Vickie who was at their family home just blocks south of the accident scene.
“I got the call and rushed over there. It was so scary. Easton was crying…screaming….it was awful” Vickie Murphree told The packet after the accident.
Volunteer Firefighters from both District 1 and 3 arrived on-scene to attend to the family as they waited in a passerby’s car. BMH-GT paramedics arrived and immediately began working on young Easton, who was suffering from several head wounds, as well as Kevin Minor, who had lost consciousness in the accident and was suffering from an injured shoulder. Vickie Murphree comforted Sophie as EMT’s worked to stop the wound on the infant’s head from bleeding.
Paramedics radioed E-911 to get a Careflight emergency helicopter en route as they loaded the hysterical Easton into the ambulance alongside his mother Beth. A second ambulance arrived to transport Minor and his daughter Sophie. Once young Easton was stabilized in the ambulance, the rescue helicopter was cancelled. According to Vickie Murphree, Easton received several stitches to his forehead and was described by his gramma as being “right back at it – wild as ever” when she spoke with reporters Wednesday. Beth Murphree was had the tip of her finger sutured together and Kevin and Sophie Minor were treated and released for minor injuries.
Gramma Vickie, who had just recovered from open-heart surgery, said the whole experience left her breathless, “My heart stopped. I’m so glad they’re all O.K. Thank God everyone was strapped in right.”
(Having been on scene for over 30 fatal car wrecks in recent years, I can tell you the most common denominator in fatal wrecks (aside from alcohol) is the lack of a proper restraint. These parents should be commended both for having their children in car seats, as well as wearing seatbelts themselves. This accident could have resulted in far worse injuries- even a death- if it weren’t for their discipline-CK.)