FERRIDAY The fire chief and a police officer collided in their town-owned vehicles Friday night, sending both men to the hospital and closing the highway for 45 minutes.
Both had minor injuries and were expected to be released late Friday night.
Fire Chief Hermon Smith was traveling north on Virgina Avenue approaching the red light at about 7:15 p.m., State Trooper Mark Davis said. Ferriday patrolman Marcus Paul was traveling east on E.E. Wallace Boulevard approaching the light.
The cause of the accident is under investigation, Davis said.
We are gathering up witness statements and talking to the drivers, he said outside the Riverland Medical Center emergency room. I havent had a chance to look at it in detail yet.
The cars collided in the intersection of the two roads. Davis said he could not say if the traffic signal was red at the time of the accident. No other cars were involved.
Smith was transported to Riverland by ambulance and was complaining of soreness in his shoulder, Davis said. Paul had an abrasion on his head and was transported to the hospital by another police car, Davis said.
Both vehicles received heavy damage and left U.S. 84/65 littered with debris. A portion of the fire chiefs vehicle was left hanging in the street, Davis said, leaving no option but to close the road. Highway traffic was diverted through side roads.
The fire chief radioed in the accident himself from within his vehicle, Davis said.
Because the incident involved Ferriday-owned vehicles and Town of Ferriday employees, the Ferriday Police Department asked the Louisiana State Police to respond.
Normally if its inside the city limits it is handled by the department within that jurisdiction, Davis said. But being as both vehicles were owned by the municipality, theyll request a neutral agency.
Davis said he would continue to handle the investigation.
Ferriday Police Chief Richard Madison was on the scene and at the hospital. He confirmed that his officer was involved, but would not talk about the accident, saying his department would not be a part of investigations.
Several firemen also responded to the scene after hearing of the accident on the radio. News of the crash came minutes after firemen responded to a fire call.
By Julie Finley
The Natchez Democrat