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From Staff Reports
An early morning accident on Thanksgiving day left a Leakesville man in jail and crumpled the brick wall of a local church.
The crash, which happened just before 2 a.m. Thanksgiving morning, could have been much worse, but thankfully the driver was not seriously injured and the sanctuary that sustained the damage was empty at the time of impact.
According to reports, 23-year-old Leakesville resident Dusty McLeod was westbound on Old Hwy. 24 when the 2000 model GMC truck he was driving left the roadway and rolled multiple times before crashing into a side wall of Unity Baptist Church.
Greene County Deputy Sheriff Adam Kelley responded to the call and said several factors played a part in the accident. Kelley said McLeod may have possibly fallen asleep at the wheel before leaving the road and flipping multiple times before coming to a stop in the east wall of the church. High speed and alcohol are believed to have played a roll in the accident, based on evidence at the scene. McLeod was taken to Greene County Jail where he was charged with driving under the influence. Kelley said McLeod had admitted to drinking several hours prior to the accident and that a blood-alcohol-concentration test performed on McLeod showed alcohol content well above the legal limit. McLeod refused medical treatment at the scene.
This charge is not the first DUI charge for McLeod, as he has a pending DUI charge in George County as well.
Walter Mixon, Pastor of Unity Baptist Church, said he arrived at the church shortly after law enforcement arrived and began assessing the damage to the sanctuary. He said a text was sent out to members of the congregation around 5:30 a.m. and within an hour, several members of the congregation, as well as members from the community and other local churches had gathered at the church to help cleaning up debris.
“Everything fell into place,” Mixon said. “We had a lot of help with clean up, and Davis Hardware went and opened the store for us early Thanksgiving morning so we could get the materials we needed to close the wall.”
Bro. Mixon was able to travel to his family’s Thanksgiving get-together after the wall was closed, and by the time he returned Friday, he said crews were already there cleaning bricks and other debris from inside the church. Members of the church continued working all weekend, and services were held in the sanctuary Sunday morning.
“We will hold services in the sanctuary for now,” Mixon said. “We will move services into the new building when it becomes necessary for construction on the sanctuary.”
Mixon said they will have to speak with the insurance company before any repairs are made. For now, the wall is secure, however changes could arise as preparations for the repairs begin. Until that time, church members and visitors are welcome to enjoy services at the church.