Radar patrols for drivers' 'own good'
Gautier-Vancleave Road under the gun

PASCAGOULA - Sheriff's deputies and Gautier officers are providing patrols on Gautier-Vancleave Road to curtail the sudden increase in wrecks that have claimed the lives of four people in the last three weeks.

Speed has been a factor in many of the accidents, according to law officers.

"Gautier police are running radar up Gautier-Vancleave Road up to the city limits," Sheriff Mike Byrd told Jackson County supervisors Monday morning. "We have (two traffic) officers that are stationed on Gautier-Vancleave Road now. We've written numerous tickets."

Byrd said another head-on collision occurred on Forts Lake Road this past weekend. Six people were hurt but there were no fatalities. He said driver error, not speed, was the cause of the accident.

Edith Hopson, 46, was killed July 11 in a head-on collision on Gautier-Vancleave just above the city limits of Gautier; Nicholas Dubuison, 18, was hospitalized with a broken leg.

Ashley Wilson and her infant daughter were killed June 27 in a head-on collision on Gautier-Vancleave about a half-mile south of where Hopson died; her husband and two sons were seriously injured.

Another near-fatal accident on Gautier-Vancleave also occurred during June.

"I think so many folks have moved out to the county that we are just overrun," Byrd said. "It's just not enough of us to go around right now."

Supervisor John McKay said it seems most of the accidents are occurring on major thoroughfares such as Mississippi 609, Gautier-Vancleave Road and Beachview Drive in Gulf Park Estates. Byrd agreed.

"We've got to slow folks down for their own good," McKay said.

Gautier city officials are expected to discuss speed limits during tonight's meeting.

In another matter, Byrd discussed with supervisors the possibility of moving prisoners from Ocean Springs to the sheriff's department, but Byrd said he does not have enough manpower or the space at this time.

Leach said county officials have discussed developing a central location for an adult detention center. He said legislation was sent to state officials, but Rep. Billy Broomfield did not agree with constructing a facility outside the county seat of Pascagoula.