A 19-year-old Stone County man is dead and a 23-year-old resident of Ray Brook, New York is in serious condition as the result of a single-vehicle accident early Saturday morning.
Grant Lowery Hickman was pronounced dead at the scene after his 2006 Ford F-150 pickup left East Wire Road, struck several trees and came to rest upside down.
Charles E. Damp, reportedly a member of the U.S. Coast Guard, was transported to Stone County Hospital before being airlifted to University Medical Center in Jackson.
Damp was listed in serious condition as of Monday, suffering from head and internal injuries.
The Stone County Sheriff Department received a call about the accident at 1:32 a.m. Saturday.
Lewis Husband, DUI Enforcement Officer for the SCSD, said Hickman had attempted to negotiate a curve, lost control and struck the trees before becoming airborne and flipping over.
"He had to be extricated from the vehicle," Husband said. "It took three hours and 26 minutes to clear the scene."
Husband said speed and alcohol were factors in the accident.
Stone County Coroner Wayne Flurry said in a statement that Hickman was unrestrained in the vehicle and had a blood-alcohol level of .224.
A level of .08 is considered legally intoxicated for an adult and anyone under the age of 21 is considered in violation of the law with a level of .02.
Friends of Hickman told investigators several friends had been drinking earlier at the Gulfport Music Festival in Jones Park.
Unconfirmed reports said Hickman and the others had a designated driver and that he had made it home before deciding to leave again in his own vehicle.
"This is not the way to start off the summer," Husband said. "I would like to think this is going to be a learning experience for some of these young people.
"Don't cut your future short."
Husband stressed several ways to safely enjoy the summer.
"Drink responsibly, wear your seat belt and get a designated driver," he said.
He also pointed out the fact drinking responsibly, for those underage, meant not drinking at all.
There is a Click It or Ticket seat belt safety push on by the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.
The effort began Monday and runs through June 3.
"Wear your seat belt, or you will get a ticket," Husband said.