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‘Their lives will never be the same’: Mother of three becomes third victim to die after highway collapse

The mother and her 16-year-old daughter were in one of the seven vehicles that crashed after Hwy. 26 collapsed on Aug. 30, 2021.
Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 10:25 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2021 at 7:43 AM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WLOX) - Nearly two weeks after Highway 26 collapsed in George County, a third person has died.

Amanda Williams of Wiggins died Saturday after being hospitalized since the Aug. 30 collapse, which caused seven vehicles to crash into the washed-out roadway. Two people died at the time of the crash and 10 others were injured, including Williams and her teen daughter Emily.

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Posted by Danny Ray Williams on Saturday, September 11, 2021

Williams died Saturday at Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg as a result of the injuries sustained during the crash, confirmed a Mississippi Highway Patrol spokesperson on Monday.

Williams’ daughter Emily, 16, is now home recovering from her injuries, which include several broken bones and some internal injuries. Just days after the crash, she spoke with WLOX, telling what she remembered from the night of the accident.

Hwy. 26 collapsed Aug. 30 following heavy rains from Ida. Two people were killed and  10 others...
Hwy. 26 collapsed Aug. 30 following heavy rains from Ida. Two people were killed and 10 others were injured.(WLOX)

Emily said she and her mom were on their way to a friend’s to drop something off. Just 10 minutes before the crash, they had traveled over that spot in the highway and felt a bump but thought they had hit something. It was raining so they weren’t sure, said the teenager. Shortly after, they were on their way back when Emily said she just saw “a black hole” and it was too late to stop.

‘Prayers for all involved,’ Reeves shares thoughts, kind words after deadly road collapse
‘Prayers for all involved,’ Reeves shares thoughts, kind words after deadly road collapse(‘Prayers for all involved,’ Reeves shares thoughts, kind words after deadly road collapse)

She described being knocked unconscious from the crash, then waking to see her mom next to her choking on her own blood. She sat her mom forward so she wouldn’t choke as they waited for help to arrive. Another car plummeted off the broken roadway on top of their vehicle and Emily said she heard screams coming from it. She would later learn that those screams belonged to Layla, a senior at George County High.

Two men - Jerry Lee of Lucedale and Kent Brown of Leakesville, both 49 years old - were killed in the crash on impact, said the George County coroner.

READ MORE: 2 dead, 10 injured after South Mississippi highway collapses following heavy rainfall

Amanda Williams, pictured left, with her daughter 16-year-old daughter Emily
Amanda Williams, pictured left, with her daughter 16-year-old daughter Emily(Williams Family)

In addition to her 16-year-old daughter Emily, Amanda Williams leaves behind two other children - Hannah and Aden - and her husband of more than 20 years, Danny Ray Williams.

“Amanda has always had this special heart. She has always been generous, she is kind hearted, she is an amazing mom and her kids are a reflection of that,” said her sister-in-law Shanna Bordelon, adding that Williams’ patience and kindness are something she always admired.

While Bordelon said Amanda’s patience and kindness were admirable, it was motherhood where she truly found her purpose and shined. She had special bonds with each of her three children and, for Bordelon, that is the toughest thing about all of this.

“I know their lives will never be the same. They are not going to have their mom for those special things, like graduation or when they get married, and that hurts,” said Bordelon.

Amanda Williams, pictured here with her three children - Emily, Hannah and Aden
Amanda Williams, pictured here with her three children - Emily, Hannah and Aden(Williams Family)

Now, as the Williams mourn their loss and two other families also grieve, the community is offering up any support they can. Amanda’s family, however, say they do not plan on having a traditional service.

“She wouldn’t want us being sad,” said Bordelon. “She would want us carrying on with her humor and doing good deeds and just moving forward carrying her.”

A celebration of Williams’ life is being planned instead for sometime in early October. A Go Fund Me page has also been started by family members to help with the medical expenses. As of Tuesday morning, nearly $7,000 had been raised. A benefit is also being planned by friends and family to help the family. That is set to take place in the coming weeks.

Watch below to see the full interview from Sept. 4, 2021, with Emily Williams:

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