Summer storm causes accident, outages
by Rory Doyle
Jul 19, 2013 | 2706 views | 0 0 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Alice Griffin of Drew arrives at the accident scene Thursday to find her son's vehicle crashed into a tree on Drew-Mergiold Road. Sunflower County Sheriff James Haywood said James Griffin lost control of his vehicle during yesterday's stormy weather.
Alice Griffin of Drew arrives at the accident scene Thursday to find her son's vehicle crashed into a tree on Drew-Mergiold Road. Sunflower County Sheriff James Haywood said James Griffin lost control of his vehicle during yesterday's stormy weather.
slideshow
Strong thunderstorms Thursdays rocked the area and made for some pretty treacherous driving.

Sunflower County Sheriff James Haywood said heavy rain and strong winds were the cause of an accident around 1:15 p.m. Thursday on Drew-Merigold Road on the Sunflower County side.

Driver James Griffin of Drew, age unknown, lost control of his 2004 Pontiac Grand AM and swerved off the road into a ditch and collided head-on with a tree.

Griffin and a female passenger, name and age unknown at presstime, were transported to Bolivar Medical Center in Cleveland by Pafford EMS.

The Bolivar County Volunteer Fire Department also arrived on scene for assistance.

"As far as we know, neither of them sustained very serious injuries," said Haywood. "Rescuers were concerned with keeping Griffin's blood pressure down."

Haywood said Drew-Merigold Road becomes dangerous when serious weather strikes, and all drivers are asked to remain cautious on remote roads.

"When it gets bad like that real quick, sometimes it's best for people to just stay off the roads," he said.

The Sunflower County Sheriff’s Department struggled with the weather when lightning struck its radio system. As of Friday morning, Haywood said the system was only 20 percent operational.

The department also lost connection with its computer server, causing more communication frustrations for Haywood.

In other storm news, the Shelby was hit hard by the same system.

Mayor Dan Harris said downed trees caused the bulk of the damage, including a power outage that put the city down for over three hours.

"Luckily, no one was personally injured, but a number of fallen trees caused damage," Harris said.

Removal of a fallen pecan tree near Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Third Avenue required assistance from the Bolivar County EOC.

Lightning struck a tree near Broadway Street and Shelby Boulevard causing a small fire that was put out by the Shelby Volunteer Fire Department.

A tree close to the lightning strike also fell and damaged the back porch of a nearby residence.

A number of other trees and limbs came down on private properties, including one that put a mark in the Pilgrim Rest Church on Kermit Stanton Boulevard.

Harris said he thinks the lightning strike on Broadway is what caused the power outage.

"The main line was on the ground," he said. "Entergy was quick to help out but it took some time because we had some serious damage."

While Shelby avoided flash flooding from the powerful system, the National Weather System in Jackson was closely monitoring the situation. Sunflower County was also issued a Flash Flood Watch.