Lowndes County Sheriff’s Deputies Chris Black and Steve Hatcher responded to the intersection of Highway 12 and Jemison Mill Road Thursday night for a flipped truck. First on scene, Black found a Ford Ranger, upside down and surrounded by a 100-yard debris trail.
Witnesses who arrived immediately after the wreck stated that they saw the driver of the truck crawl out of the wreck and run into the trees that line the east side of the highway. Black approached the treeline and could hear the subject moving and cussing in the underbrush. The deputy called out to the man, ordering him to come out into the open.
The man in the trees called back, saying that he was hurt. The driver was informed that he needed to exit the woods so that he could be checked for injuries. The as-yet-unidentified male struggled to traverse the 15 feet separating him from the open air, but from his shouts of pain, it was obvious that he was ensconced in a thicket of briars. He reassured Black that he was trying to get free. “Aah! I’m coming! Aah!! F***! Aah! I swear I’m coming! F***! F***! Ow! I’m sorry! F***! I’m coming out!” After roughly ten minutes of fighting and swearing, a bloody white male emerged from the treeline.
The deputy escorted the male, soon identified as William Lance Burns, back to the wrecked truck. Once in the open, Burns dropped to his knees next to the Ford. As he lay on the ground, the driver complained that his arm was broken.
“Man, I broke my arm before. I got a metal plate right here.” (Indicating his left forearm) “It feels like it broke loose! My arm is broke!”
Black and Hatcher questioned Burns about the events leading up to his wreck, starting with the obvious question of whether the man had been drinking.
Burns replied, “Man, I had a couple. Naw, I had three. I just had three.”
The driver told the officers that he had come from Mike’s Bar on Alabama Street in Columbus.
“I was drinking at Mike’s because my mom works there.” (Pointing towards Caledonia) “Then I went to McDonald’s to f***ing get something to eat before I went home.” (Pointing towards Columbus) I was f***ing driving along here and a god**** deer f***ing jumped in front of me,” Burns said.
Burns claimed that he was wearing his seatbelt, but was thrown from the truck when it rolled. [Blood was later found inside the truck where he crawled out through the driver’s side window. – JD] An ambulance arrived on scene to tend to Burns’ injuries. It was determined that the driver had not broken his arm, but merely had road rash over a large portion of his left bicep. While he was being secured to a stretcher, a strap touched Burns’ raw skin, prompting him to howl and curse at the EMTs who were attempting to help him. Burns was noted as saying, “Man, I’m sorry. I don’t want to hurt you guys, unless you give me a reason.”
Burns was transported to Baptist Memorial Hospital – Golden Triangle and treated for his injuries. After being released, he was arrested by the Mississippi Highway Patrol and taken to the Lowndes County Adult Detention Center. He was charged with no insurance, seatbelt violation, improper lane usage, DUI, and two counts of simple assault for lashing out at the EMTs.