Senior dies in crash day before graduation, police say

JACKSON, Miss. — A high school senior died in a car crash on the way to a rehearsal a day before graduation, police said.

Frances Fortner, a talented artist who had won awards for her work, was on her way to graduation practice Thursday when the convertible she was driving flipped over an uncovered manhole, according to the Clarion-Ledger.


Fortner, 18, was taken to a hospital where she later died, according to WAPT.

"It is with great sadness that we share the tragic news of the loss of one of our Jackson Academy senior students," the school said in a statement. "This breaks our hearts, and our entire community of students, educators and families is grieving alongside her family at this terrible loss."

A crew secured the cover after the incident, according to WAPT. Robert Miller, director of Public Works for the city of Jackson, did not know about an issue with the manhole cover, according to the Clarion-Ledger.

"My sincere thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and classmates of this young lady whose life was taken too soon," Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba told WLBT. "We are conducting a full investigation of the accident."

Jackson Police Department spokesman said police did not know about an issue in the road, according to the Clarion-Ledger.

"The city has been called about this several times, because I was one of the people who personally called," witness Kenya Benjamin told WAPT. "It was dangerous. I've hit it a couple of times myself and you literally can feel the vibration from the bottom of your feet to the top of your head."