When Neshoba County sent three ambulances to Kemper County last Wednesday in response a fatal four-vehicle accident on U.S. 45, EMS coverage continued on here as usual.

Kemper County officials called asking for whatever Neshoba County could send, according to Johnny Williams of Neshoba EMS.

The initial report said that a loaded school bus had been involved in a four-vehicle accident and that there were multiple fatalities and injuries.

Philadelphia’s Rescue One was dispatched as well but turned around soon after. 

When law enforcement officers arrived at the scene located south of Scooba, about three miles north of the Lauderdale County line, they learned a Meridian school bus had been struck, but it was not loaded and the driver was not seriously injured.

There were three deaths in the accident. According to reports, a Chevy pickup headed southbound on Highway 45 crossed the median and collided with the school bus, small SUV and a pickup.

The dead were identified as Kimberly S. Holliday, 56, from Southhaven; Bailey Southerlen, 12, of Southhaven and Kathleen Estling, 67, of Altoon, Iowa. 

Five others were injured, the MHP said.

“We have seven ambulances,” said Williams of Neshoba EMS. “We have three on call 24/7 and we have a day ambulance that runs eight hours.

“When the call came, we sent three ambulances and instantly called up two more. Never was Neshoba County without coverage. Three of our staff in the office are EMTs and I am a paramedic. Also, we always have a person on call.”

Williams said they prepared for the worst and fortunately it didn’t happen. Williams said he called up Neshohba County’s emergency transport bus which could move numerous patients in a major incident. But the bus was not sent after they realized the Meridian school bus was empty.

“I knew once they said the bus was unloaded, everything would be covered,” Williams said. “There were nine ambulances at the event. They can transport two patients apiece. Also they had the helicopter there, which transported one patient.”

The wreck was the second with fatalities in Kemper County last week. The first wreck, which occurred on Monday, resulted in eight fatalities. Neshoba County was not asked to send an ambulance that day but the Philadelphia Fire Department’s Rescue One was dispatched and helped extract the deceased.

“If we get a call for help from other counties, we will send what we can,” Williams said.

A special prayer service is scheduled to be held in front of the Kemper County Court House Wednesday (tonight) starting at 6:30 p.m.

Prayers will be said for law enforcement officials, first responders and the victims of the two horrific wrecks that occurred last week in Kemper County.

Last Friday, Kemper County Sheriff James Moore talked about the stress that law enforcement, first responders and other public servants face, especially during a time like this.

Moore called for prayers for Kemper County and all involved.