Driver Arrested in Vardaman Accident That Claimed One Child’s Life

A driver is behind bars after being involved in an accident Wednesday afternoon that resulted in his 18-wheeler colliding with two Vardaman children, killing one.

James Thomas Murphy, 70, of Vaiden, has been charged with manslaughter after his truck which was hauling lumber ran over two children that were crossing the highway after exiting the school bus.

One child died at the scene while the other was airlifted to LeBonheur for further medical care.

The following is a statement from Calhoun City Superintendent Lisa Langford:

It is with the deepest regret that the Calhoun County School District must confirm that an accident has taken place this afternoon, December 9, 2020, involving two Vardaman Elementary School students who were disembarking from their school bus. The accident is still under investigation by the Mississippi Highway Patrol, but it is our understanding that the bus was stopped and the children were struck as they crossed the highway. One child has been pronounced dead at the scene and another has been airlifted to the hospital with unknown injuries. No other students or personnel were injured in the accident. The condition of the truck driver is unknown at this time. The District has and will continue to work with the local law enforcement, the Mississippi Highway Patrol, and other agencies to assess the incident and determine the appropriate next steps. We would like to thank the police officers and first responders from the area who arrived so quickly to offer assistance.

The District would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the family, community, students, and staff of the Vardaman Schools. We understand the emotional impact this can have on all parties involved and counselors will be available at the school in the morning to address any needs. In addition, translators will be on site to assist with the needs of our Hispanic students. Vardaman is an extremely close-knit community, and we know they will come together to support and comfort one another through this terrible tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers will continue to be with them during this time.

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