One family’s nightmare became their reality after their daughter was killed in a preventable crash in Jackson, MS.
It was early in the afternoon on May 18th when Frances Anne Fortner, 18, was driving along Ridgewood Road near Venetian Way when she hit a manhole cover that wasn’t bolted down, according to a witness [Source: WAPT]. After driving over the unsecured manhole cover, she lost control of her vehicle and as a result, the car flipped. Sadly, Fortner died as a result of the single-vehicle collision. She was scheduled to graduate from Jackson Academy the day after her accident occurred.
Shortly after the incident transpired, crews arrived to secure the manhole. But, according to the same witness who told WAPT that the teen’s accident was a result of the unsecured manhole cover, this has been an ongoing issue. She stated that the city has been called on several occasions regarding it and she was even one to put a call in after she had hit it with her vehicle prior to Fortner’s accident. The witness told the news source, “you literally can feel the vibration from the bottom of your feet to the top of your head” when driving over it.
Jackson’s Mayor Blames City for Failing to Secure the Manhole Cover that Caused Fortner’s Crash
After learning of the tragic accident, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba spoke out regarding the incident and said that an investigation would be conducted to determine the cause of it. And after just a few days, the Mayor determined that the unfortunate crash occurred because “the city failed to secure the manhole” [Source: WAPT]. Lumumba also stated that a few hours prior to Fortner’s incident, another woman had blown out two tires on her vehicle after driving over the manhole cover. But, when police arrived, it appeared to them that the cover was secure which is why it remained in that same condition and became a hazard to other drivers such as Fortner.
In a statement released by Lumumba, he said, “Regardless of whether that officer felt that, and with respect to the calls that were made to public works as well, I feel that it is my responsibility as the mayor of this city to be honest to the Fortner family and to be honest to the citizens of Jackson and acknowledge that the city of Jackson failed to appropriately secure the site at the time that we learned that the manhole cover was not properly in place. We owe responsibility to the Fortner family and we owe that acknowledgement in taking responsibility to the citizens of Jackson.”
While Fortner’s family may appreciate that the city has taken responsibility for its faults, it won’t bring back their daughter who was only a day away from graduating high school and starting her life as an adult. And because Fortner never made it to her graduation, the school presented a diploma in her honor to a fellow senior and best friend of the teen.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident and you believe the city’s negligence played a role in causing it, contact Jackson, MS personal injury attorney William E. Ballard today. Although it isn’t always easy and the city may refute the claims made against them, you may be able to recover compensation for the injuries you sustained in the accident. To learn more about holding the City of Jackson, MS accountable for causing an injury or death, contact Ballard Law, PLLC today at 769-572-5111 so that we can schedule a consultation to discuss your incident in depth.
You can reach Ballard Law, PPLC at:
108 S. President Street
Jackson, MS 39201