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Truck Driver Killed In I-55 Crash – Search Continues For His Faithful Companion

Luna has traveled hundreds of thousands of miles in an 18-wheeler after she was rescued by a truck driver and his wife in 2017. She was riding in an 18-wheeler that crashed on I-55 last week, killing the driver. Family members and friends of the driver are desperately searching to find his missing companion.

TILLATOBA – An over-the-road truck driver from North Carolina was killed in a crash on I-55 on Nov. 14. Yalobusha County Coroner Ronnie Stark reported Clarson Jessie Carter, 58, of Coats, North Carolina, was pronounced dead at the scene at 5:11 p.m.

The Mississippi Highway Patrol reported that a 2023 Peterbilt truck driven by Coats was traveling south on Interstate 55 when it left the roadway and collided with a bridge. A passenger in the truck, 27 year-old Amber Carter, also of North Carolina, received moderate injuries in the crash and was transported to a local hospital.

The crash remains under investigation by the Mississippi Highway Patrol and is the second fatal motor vehicle accident on I-55 in Yalobusha County this month. Trevoris Montrell Meeks of Oxford was killed on Nov. 5 when his vehicle left the roadway near Oakland and rolled several times.
The truck driver’s former wife, Tami Neely-Means, is helping search for a small dog who was also traveling in the truck when it crashed. Neely-Means shared a photo of Luna on the Facebook group, Yalobusha Pet Alerts, two days after the fatal accident. The 18-wheeler left the interstate roadway, stopping near the edge of County Road 2 in Scobey on the west side of I-55. Neely-Means reported that someone thought they saw Luna running towards a field shortly after the wreck. Residents in the area of the crash have searched in the days that followed but there has been no sightings of Luna.

“We rescued her in 2017. Since then, she has spent her entire life riding in his truck,” Neely-Means told the Herald. “She loved to ride on the dash and Jessie would turn on the heat on defrost in the winter so she wouldn’t be cold.”

Neely-Means lives in Oklahoma and reported that posting on Facebook was the only way she could help. Family members believe Carter may have had a medical emergency, causing him to crash. Neely-Means explained that Amber Carter, the driver’s wife who was injured in the crash, has been released from the hospital and is still in the area hoping that Luna would be found.

“His wife is staying in the area for a few more days. But if someone finds her after that, I am willing to make the drive to get her,” Neely-Means said.
(Editor’s Note: If you have information about the missing dog, contact Neely-Means on Facebook or call the North Mississippi Herald at (662) 473-1473 or (662) 473-8444 after hours.)

4 Comments

  1. Tami Means on November 22, 2023 at 9:53 am

    Thank you so much for doing this story!! Amber and I are forever grateful. We are still holding out hope that she is out there somewhere. There has been so many helpful people reach out to me. I just can’t thank everyone enough!

    • Gary Cook on November 28, 2023 at 6:29 pm

      Tell Amber my condolences for her husband but Dad’s glad she is safe. Hopefully Luna turns up

  2. Mrs Kim Brower on November 22, 2023 at 1:53 pm

    I live less than a mile away from the accident sight and I have been there and looked and called for Luna almost everyday since the accident but can’t find her. Hope she is found safe.

  3. Gary Cook on November 27, 2023 at 6:08 pm

    Glad my daughter is safe

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