(Benton County, MS) A 30-year-old mother died and her two children were hospitalized after a crash on U.S. Highway 72 and Mississippi Route 7.
The mother, Erica Hendershot of Henderson, Tenn., was driving a Chevrolet Blazer north on 7. When she tried to cross 72, her vehicle entered the path of a Dodge pick-up truck.
The children, a 10-year-old boy and 7-year-old girl, were taken via Hospital Wing to LeBonheur with serious, but not life-threatening, injuries.
All three were wearing their seat belts.
Larry and Glinda Byerly, both age 70, from Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, were in the pick-up. They were taken by ambulance to The MED with moderate injuries.
People who live and work nearby said they’ve seen many accidents at the same spot before.
Mississippi Highway Patrol Spokesman Ray Hall also said he recalls several deadly incidents at that intersection, as well as one near it, at U.S. Highway 72 and state Route 5.
“They need to improve this highway here. They need to put red lights on both sides. I understand there are red flashing lights, but we need some red lights here. Because there have been too many deaths,” said Charlene Carmichael.
Carmichael saw the accident and pulled over to help.
She said the boy exited the car himself, but people had to break a window to help the girl out. Their mother was not responsive.
“She was pinned in the car. They had to cut her out of the car,” said Omar Alijawfi, who works at the gas station across the intersection.
He said he heard a loud “boom,” and saw Hendershot’s car flip into a ditch.
“It's sad. Kids growing up without their mom, that's sad. Really sad,” he said.
Being separated this way is a feeling Carmichael knows all too well.
“I'm really still shaken up over it, because I lost my first baby in an accident like that,” she said.
She found it particularly heartbreaking when she heard the boy ask if his mother was also in the helicopter. She heard the kids saying they just come from swimming.