The first accident caused traffic to back up and stop. The second accident, which was fatal, occurred when a semi slammed into the stopped vehicles.
Killed in the wrecks were Marcus Hardin, 32, of Byhalia and Dwight White, 58, of Fulton. Steven McGraw, 21, of Mantachie was seriously injured.
Mississippi Highway Patrol responded to the first accident about 4:45 a.m. near the Auburn Road exit on U.S. 78.
According to Highway Patrol spokesman Ray Hall, it appeared Barry Russell, 41, of Sardis, was traveling westbound in a Freightliner Semi-Tractor/Trailer when a Dodge Ram pickup, driven by McGraw collided into the back of the semi.
McGraw was taken to North Mississippi Medical Center with serious injuries. He remained hospitalized Saturday evening. Russell was uninjured in the accident.
Both drivers were wearing seat belts.
While troopers were investigating the first accident, a second wreck involving two semis and a pickup truck occurred about two miles east of the first crash scene about 5:15 a.m. Hall said the accident also was in the westbound lane.
Hall said Hardin was driving a semi traveling west when his vehicle struck a Ford F-150 driven by White.
"White's vehicle was stopped in the westbound lane due to the first accident," Hall said. "After White's vehicle was struck in the rear, it collided into the rear of a 2008 International Semi-Tractor/Trailer."
The second semi was driven by Bertrand L Digner, 62, of Baton Rouge, La. Digner's vehicle also was stopped in traffic. He was uninjured and had been wearing a seat belt.
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.