Often times, newspaper staffers must cover events that leave a bitter taste in our collective mouths-car accidents, house fires, brutal domestic matters and other scenes that may involve the death of someone involved. We never find joy in publishing the related photos, cutlines and articles in the subsequent edition of the paper. News is news, however, and our covenant with our readers and the public compels us to report such episodes, and we do so with the utmost respect of those directly involved and the family members that must deal with the pain.
On Friday, such an event hit home with our staff here at the Courier, as we quickly and unwittingly discovered that the person involved in the car-train collision was the brother of our editor Bonnie Jackson. Without going into great detail, Bonnie and Tommy had just spoken only moments before Tommy’s car collided with the Amtrak passenger train at the Frost Street crossing, just south of our office on Ragsdale Avenue in downtown Hazlehurst, killing Tommy.
Though this situation is different for us and our staff, it is news and will be treated with as much respect by this newspaper as any other tragedy that has occurred. The only exception is that we here are directly feeling the pain because we all love Bonnie as a friend and a member of our family here at the Courier.
Words cannot describe what Bonnie and her family members experienced down by the accident scene on Friday evening. The Jacksons and their extended family, all of whom are long-time Hazlehurst residents, are as close as any family I’ve ever known. Much of their strength comes from that bond. And, Friday evening, they wept together, stunned by the sudden tragedy.
We wept and weep, too, for Tommy, for Bonnie, for Jimmy and the rest of the Jackson family. Please, pray for the strength that only the Lord can provide Bonnie and her family. If you know Bonnie at all, you know how strong her faith is, and that she and her family have endured much pain and will need the comfort of close friends in the coming days and weeks.
We appreciate the quick response of the members of the Hazlehurst Police, Fire and Volunteer Fire departments, as well as that of Copiah Emergency Management and Hardy Wilson Memorial Hospital to secure the scene and prevent any further injuries.
Again, keep Bonnie, Jimmy and the Jackson family in your prayers.