Student passes away in car accident

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Jada Bright, 23, a public relations major at Southern Miss, was one of three drivers killed in a five-car wreck in Pearl River County Thursday morning.

The accident occurred Thursday, Nov. 22 at 10:26 a.m. on North I-59. Capt. Johnny Poulos with the Mississippi Highway Patrol told the Clarion Ledger that the wreck took place when a Dodge Caravan driven by Shelley Rose crashed head-on into a Saturn Ion driven by Bright and a Nissan Altima is driven by Evens Vincent.

The three were pronounced dead on the scene by the highway patrol.

According to reports from the Clarion Ledger, Rose was released days earlier for alcohol-related charges. She was arrested Nov. 20 in Lauderdale County for her fourth offense of felony DUI, but police released her on a $10,000 bond.

Lauderdale County Sheriff Billie Sollie told Fox News reporter Louis Casiano a fourth DUI offense is punishable with up to 10 years in Mississippi prison. He claimed the state’s court system has a slow pace and problems getting information about repeat offenders across jurisdictions.

The Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department released a statement on Facebook stating, “We pray for those involved and our sincerest condolences to their families on this Thanksgiving Holiday.”

The Highway Patrol is still investigating the accident.

Saturday Dec. 1 at 1 p.m., there will be services at Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church in Slidell, LA. Associate Director of Southern Miss Center for Faculty Development Cindy Blackwell, Ph.D, said she offered to take the school’s van to drive students to the funeral on the day of at 10:30 a.m.

“Jada was a bright, inquisitive young lady. It was an honor to be her professor and I will never forget her impact on me,” Associate Professor and Graduate Coordinator Cheryl D. Jenkins, Ph.D. said through email. “Many people may not understand the connections that professors have with students. It’s akin to a nurturing relationship. So, when something like this happens it is as devastating for us as it is for students. Southern Miss has lost a jewel.”

Assistant Professor in the School of Communication and Bright’s Advisor Loren Coleman, Ph.D. was devastated when she learned of Bright’s passing and her heart broke for Bright’s family and friends. She said she watched Bright grow and was excited to see Bright graduate. Coleman said Bright was determined to graduate in the Spring of 2018 and was ready to take on any challenge to do so.

“Jada Bright was my advisee and a former student of mine. I remember our first meeting to discuss her degree plan. I can vividly remember her emphasis on graduation. She was determined to graduate and gain as much knowledge as she could in public relations and sports management,” Coleman said.  “Each time I met with Jada, I watched her become more confident in herself and more motivated to achieve her educational and professional goals. My last meeting with Jada was one that I think all advisors look forward to. We filled out her graduation application. In this meeting, we triple checked all her degree requirements and made plans for Spring graduation. She was so excited to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”