PANOLA COUNTY, Miss. — Rosie Hughes is facing the reality of life without her daughter, Ericka Hughes. The 32-year-old mother of four worked two jobs in Batesville to support her children, including eight years at Dollar Tree and three years at AT&T.
She was killed Monday night in a horrific crash on Highway 315 in Sardis, Mississippi. Police say she was turning into Sonic when she was hit head-on by a Sardis police cruiser. To some, the impact sounded like a bomb going off.
Sardis city officials identified the officer as Alex Aikens. The Sardis Police chief confirmed that Aikens is schedules to have surgery Wednesday.
"When you hear an impact like that, everybody just turns around. You don't know what you're looking for. You just see debris flying," a witness said.
What's more disturbing to family members is the reason behind Ericka's death, a high-speed chase. "From what I hear, is they were going on a high-speed chase. Why they were chasing a motorcycle, I have no clue," Ericka's sister, Brenda, said.
Witnesses say the officer was eastbound on Highway 315 swerving in and out of traffic when he crossed the center line and hit Ericka, who was headed in the opposite direction.
"The police, jumping in and out of traffic. Why? No clue. Trying to chase this motorcycle that he knew he wasn't going to catch," Brenda said.
The Mississippi Highway Patrol is handling the investigation and would not comment on whether the Sardis cruiser was equipped with a dash cam. Several businesses near the crash site have security cameras, but we were told none captured the crash.
In the meantime, as they family grieves they say nothing will replace their "best friend." "She was my everything. It was only me and her. So when they took her, they took all I had. When they took her, they took half of me," Brenda said.