UPDATE: Two dead after Highway 78 accident in Lee County

By Staff and MHP press release report

The Mississippi Highway Patrol is still investigating two-separate Saturday morning accidents that has claimed the life of two people and shut down traffic flow on US 78 for about six hours.

Troopers responded to the first accident at approximately 4:45 a.m. near the Auburn Road exit on US 78.

Upon arriving, it appeared Barry Russell, 41, of Sardis, was traveling west bound in a 2008 Freightliner Semi-Tractor/Trailer when a 2004 Dodge Ram, driven by Steven McGraw, 21, of Mantachie, collided into the rear of the semi-tractor/trailer.

McGraw was taken to North Mississippi Medical Center with serious injuries. He remains hospitalized.

Russell was uninjured in the accident.

Both drivers were wearing seat belts.

While Troopers were investigating the first accident, a second accident involving two semi-tractors/trailers and a pickup occurred approximately 2 miles east of the first crash scene.

At approximately 5:15 a.m., the Mississippi Highway Patrol was notified of a second accident near mile marker 93, also in the west bound lane of US 78.

Upon arriving it appeared Marcus Hardin, 32, of Byhalia, was operating a 2009 Freightliner Semi-Tractor/Trailer, traveling west, when his vehicle struck a 2004 Ford F-150, driven by Dwight White, 58, of Fulton.

White’s vehicle was stopped in the west-bound lane due to the first accident. After White’s vehicle was struck in the rear, it collided into the rear of a 2008 International Semi-Tractor/Trailer, operated by Bertrand L Digner, 62, of Baton Rouge, LA. Digner’s vehicle was also stopped in traffic.

Hardin was transported to NMMC where he later died from the injuries received in the crash. He was not wearing his seat belt.

White was also transported to NMMC where he also died from the injuries received in the crash. He was wearing a seat belt.

Lee County Coroner Carolyn Gillentine-Green confirmed both deaths.

Digner was uninjured in the accident. He was wearing a seat belt.

There were a total of three semi-tractor/trailers and two pick-up trucks between both crashes.