Residents Who Lost Children Advocate for Safety on Highway
The school is in talks with the Mississippi Department of Transportation (M.D.O.T.) to install a school zone along Hwy. 67 to slow traffic down during school hours, and residents think it’s a good idea. Janice Ferguson, a D’Iberville business owner, says, “And as an experienced driver even, it makes me nervous at the intersections. So just some sort of protection to keep the driver safe so I don’t have to see any more wrecks or fatalities at those intersections."
The state legislature has now allocated $500,000 to install a traffic light at the intersection, hoping to prevent another tragedy. One man who knows the pain of losing teenage children all too well is Brian Pearse. He and his wife lost their teenagers, Kiara and Jameel, in a car accident in November of 2006. Pearse says, "It was a devastating loss, and here are two young people, especially my daughter, who was a senior in high school at one of the highlights of her life, and all of a sudden, it’s tragically taken."
Now Pearse advocates for driving safety and even created scholarships in his children’s honor. Pearse says he works to educate the community so other parents do not have to endure the pain of losing a child. He says, "It takes a tragedy sometimes before we react. Instead of doing what’s most logical and most sensible, sometimes it takes a tragedy to react." Ferguson closes, "I think it would mean a lot to the families to see that maybe that’s a legacy for their children that they helped to protect more lives."
Many residents tell News 25 they do not want the Ward children’s death to be in vain, but to be a wakeup call for safety in their community. Pearse tells News 25 the number one killer of teens in Mississippi is motor vehicle accidents.