For years, Jackson residents have turned to humor to cope with the city’s poor infrastructure.
From putting up posters warning of “tire-eating” potholes, to planting flowers in the middle of the street to help shed light on dilapidated conditions.
We’ve all gotten a good laugh.
But Jackson’s road problems aren’t funny anymore.
Last week, Jackson Academy (JA) senior Frances Ann Fortner lost her life because of a faulty manhole cover.
The 18-year-old was on her way to graduation practice, when police say she hit a loose cover.
The cover “popped up” as she was driving over it, and her car flipped, Precinct Four Cmdr. Keith Freeman said.
Fortner was transported to the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), where she later succumbed to her injuries.
The accident occurred on Ridgewood Road near Venetian Way, north of Jackson Academy.
The street had recently been repaved by Superior Asphalt.
Hours after the accident, crews with Superior were on the scene, examining the manhole.
A day later, a bouquet of yellow flowers were placed at the site of the accident.
No one is laughing this time.
Frances Anne’s death is a major loss for this community. A bright young lady, with no doubt a bright future.
Frances Anne was expected to graduate on May 19.
At the ceremony, a friend accepted her diploma.
Frances Anne will never go to college. She’ll never get married. She’ll never land her first job. She’ll never have children.
Her parents, Laurilyn and Tom, lost much more.
What was supposed to be a happy occasion was ruined by faulty infrastructure.
There are still many questions left to be answered.
On Friday, orange cones had been put up at the site of the manhole.
Why had barricades not been put up sooner?
Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said the city is investigating the case, and rightly so.
Regardless the outcome, this cannot be fixed. No lawsuit, no settlement, no words of encouragement will bring Frances Anne back.