On Saturday afternoon, a man and a woman were viciously mowed down and killed after a car crashed through a barricade during the Rockabilly Highway Revival Festival and Car Show in Selmer. The driver of the car is said to have been an elderly man who also sustained several injuries.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol announced that the victims were killed at the popular festival saying that the barrel barricade had been established to close off the road. It is estimated that approximately 1,000 people had been in attendance at the festival on Court Avenue and Third Street. Authorities responded to the call at around 1:48 p.m., but thus far they declined to officially identify the two persons killed in the accident or the driver and the passenger he had in the car at the time. However, friends and family identified the deceased couple from the Selmer accident as Michael Johnson and Sherri King, who they have said were engaged to be married.
News Channel 3 Memphis, wrote that a Tennessee Highway Patrol spokesman said that the bodies of the deceased were taken to Shackelford Funeral Home, while the elderly driver, as well as the passenger in that car, were rushed to the Magnolia Hospital in Corinth, Mississippi. One of the wounded at the Selmer festival was taken by ambulance while the other was transported to the hospital by helicopter. The Tennessee Highway Patrol estimated that the accident itself actually took place at about 1:30 p.m. and since they were able to respond quickly, it may have saved at least one life that afternoon.
Lt. Barry Siler spoke to the media and advised that the exact reason why the car ran through the barricade and caused the two people to be killed is still under investigation. The McNairy County Sheriff’s Department has announced that they have turned over the investigation to the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
The official Facebook page for the festival later posted that a community-wide prayer meeting was going to be held for those killed and injured during the accident on Saturday evening.
Two witnesses to the tragic deaths said that the car and its elderly driver actually made it through quite a few barriers before managing to strike and kill the couple. Bo Jack Killingsworth and Billy Burney said that they also knew the two persons who were killed and that Michael Johnson ran a hot rod shop in Corinth. The two said that the car show had actually been in the middle of lunch and they think this is why more people were not there to get hurt.
As they tell it, the elderly man was driving his 1987 Fort LTD when he came crashing through the Selmer barricade, drove down the street, and rolled through an intersection. Before reaching the couple, the driver also hit a baby stroller but it only had a doll in it, and before the car came to a stop in front of some railroad tracks the driver also ran into a 1960 Chevrolet, an ATV, and a pickup truck.
According to The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, the couple who were killed had their backs turned to the car which struck them and never saw it coming.
For many people, the accident on Saturday brought back a lot of memories from 2007 when a similar incident occurred. In that tragedy, a total of six people were killed when a professional drag racer lost control of his car and mowed through a crowd at the Cars for Kids charity show. The six people who were killed then were all either in their teens or early 20s, and 23 other people were hurt as well — including the driver and a 5-year-old child.
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