By BRIAN HAWKINS
Mississippi Highway Patrol troopers are continuing to investigate what caused the crash that claimed the life of a 30-year-old Eupora man early Tuesday evening.
Randall Davis Buford Jr., 30, of Eupora, died after the white 2001 Chevrolet S-10 pickup he was driving collided with 1996 Freightliner tractor-trailer driven by Timothy Cook, 42, of Mathison about 5:20 p.m. Tuesday.
The fatal crash occurred on U.S. 82 West just east of Douglastown Road in the Center Grove community about 8 miles west of the Starkville city limits, said MHP spokesman Brian Mobley Tuesday night.
Bufordâ€™s pickup struck the Freightliner, which was hauling a load of lumber on a flatbed trailer, from behind, Mobley said
When the front end of the pickup hit the rear of the flatbed trailer, it was crushed and is believed to have killed Buford almost instantly, said Mobley.
What caused Buford to crash into the tractor-tailer remains under investigation today, said Mobley.
â€śThereâ€™s a lot that has to be pieced together,â€ť Mobley said.
Cook was not injured in the crash, but told Maben volunteer firefighters who responded to the crash scene that he â€śdefinitely feltâ€ť the impact when Bufordâ€™s pickup struck his tractor-trailer, said Kirk Rosenhan, Oktibbeha County fire services coordinator, who was at the crash scene Tuesday evening.
The rear axle of the flatbed trailer Cook was hauling was damaged in the collision.
Volunteer firefighters had to use the â€śJaws of Lifeâ€ť to cut away the driverâ€™s side door of Bufordâ€™s pickup and remove his body from the wreckage, Rosenhan said. Coroner Michael Hunt pronounced Buford dead at the crash scene.
Westbound traffic on U.S. 82 was brought to a standstill for more than an hour while troopers and volunteer firefighters work to clear the accident scene, which shut down both lanes of traffic.
At one point, traffic was reportedly backed up almost to the Starkville city limits.