Deputy Riley Jeter marks a vehicle location after a head-on collision Friday afternoon on Salem Road. One of the drivers died on Saturday at a Memphis hospital.

A single-vehicle crash over the weekend raised last week’s death toll to three on Alcorn County roads.

Sheriff Ben Caldwell said a Saturday morning crash claimed the life of Christopher Dale Gatlin, 58, of Church Street, Booneville. Also, one of the drivers in Friday’s head-on crash on Salem Road – Thomas Hunter Shaw, 19, of County Road 333 – died early Saturday at Regional One in Memphis.

After three tragedies on the rural roads within five days, the sheriff is asking drivers to keep safety in mind. With springtime, the downturn in COVID and the return of some events, people are out in larger numbers.

“At least three families this week have lost loved ones,” he said. “We don’t know all of the reasons for what caused all of these, but we would just ask everybody to slow down, focus on the road and stay safe.”

The latest crash happened about 10:45 Saturday morning on County Road 522 in the Wheeler Grove area south of Corinth. Caldwell said it appears Gatlin ran off the left side of the roadway and overcorrected, causing the truck to spin. The truck then left the right side of the road and flipped, partially ejecting the driver, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Friday’s crash happened before 2 p.m. on Salem Road about 7 miles south of Highway 72 as a Ford Edge driven by Shaw collided with a pickup occupied by Brandon David Harnage, 35, of Mount Mills Road, Tuscumbia, Ala., and Jennifer Norris Harnage, 41, of the same address. The occupants of the pickup were treated for injuries considered minor to moderate.

The crash happened in one of the many curves of Salem Road. Both vehicles caught fire.

Earlier in the week, on Tuesday, April 27, the Sheriff’s Department responded to a head-on crash about 7:45 a.m. on County Road 604 at the intersection with Road 614. Jennifer Denise Ross, 34, of Corinth, died in the crash. Driving a Nissan Altima, she had dropped her children off at school in Kossuth and was headed to work.

The driver of the other vehicle, Braden Houston, 17, of Dumas, was not seriously injured. Driving a Ford F-150, he was also headed to work.

Staff Writer

Jebb Johnston is a 1991 Alcorn Central High School graduate and a 1995 Ole Miss journalism graduate. His primary beats are city and county government.

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