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Two young men killed after being struck by off road buggy at large gathering in Leakesville
By RUSSELL TURNER
Authorities are continuing to investigate and piece together details from an ATV wreck that killed two people and injured several others this past weekend.
Investigators with the Greene County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday afternoon they are making progress with their investigation into the Dec. 11 incident that led to the deaths of Wesley Kyle Smith, 23, of Lucedale and Thomas Levi Lewis, 17, of Runnelstown. The two men were among several people struck by a side-by-side off-road buggy late Friday night on Louisiana Street in Leakesville.
Greene County Coroner Ladd Pulliam said Smith was pronounced dead at Greene County Hospital shortly after the incident. Lewis died from his injuries Sunday at Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg. Several others were injured, a few seriously.
The deceased, those injured and the driver and passenger on the ATV had reportedly all been at a party at 1221 Louisiana Street attended by a large crowd. Rumors are wide-ranging, but some reports indicate 100 people or more were at the property at the time.
The ATV reportedly belongs to Derrick Lane Chavers, 45. There are conflicting reports from people at the scene about who was on the vehicle and who was driving it at the time of the crash and police have declined to say what their investigation has determined along those lines. Derrick Chavers and his son reportedly told police the youngster was driving the ATV at the time of the wreck.
An eyewitness video circulating in the community gives a glimpse of the wreck, but the copy viewed by the Herald did not clearly show who was driving or riding in the ATV. Another video circulating in the community reportedly shows one of the fights that broke out at the gathering. The Herald has not obtained a copy of that video.
Unofficial reports paint a chaotic picture that included fights between multiple people. Police responded to multiple noise complaints from the gathering prior to the wreck, but Greene County Sheriff Stanley McLeod said the officer responding did not see a reason to break up the event. No arrests were made at the scene and no charges had been filed as of Monday morning. McLeod told the Herald Monday morning the investigation into the matter by his department and the Mississippi Highway Patrol is ongoing.