A Magnolia man and a Monticello woman died in separate one-vehicle automobile accidents in Pike and Walthall counties early Sunday morning.

In Pike County, Gary L. Cotton Jr., 32, of Magnolia, died in an accident on Highway 51 south of Wardlaw  Road at 3:25 a.m., according to the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

Julie M. Williams, 23, of Monticello, died in an accident shortly before 6 a.m. on Highway 27 in Walthall County.  

Highway Patrol spokesman Craig James said Cotton was driving north along Highway 51 with five passengers in his gold 2007 Cadillac Escalade when the vehicle drifted across the southbound lane of traffic and off the road. The SUV ran into a tree near the left shoulder of the road.

Cotton was pronounced dead at the scene.

Three of the five passengers sustained moderate to severe injuries, James said. They are Markquez Cotton, 29, of Magnolia, and Sand-quaneittra Floyd, 20, and Tommeshia Lewis, 24, both of McComb.

They were transported to Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center.

In the Walthall County wreck, James said Williams was driving a northbound 2015 Jeep Cherokee on Highway 27 when she drifted through the southbound lane of traffic and off the shoulder on the west side of the road. The vehicle overturned, ejecting Williams.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Both wrecks occurred before dawn on roads slickened by rain from Hurricane Barry, although Highway Patrol officials couldn’t confirm Monday whether the crashes were weather-related.

“The roads were wet but I wouldn’t necessarily say the wrecks were weather-related,” James said. “These wrecks are still under investigation.”

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