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Nelson placed in critical care after accident

January 7, 2012

Starkville Police Officer Derek Nelson was placed in critical care following an automobile wreck Thursday.

Nelson was injured when his car hit a telephone pole and ran off an embankment, causing the vehicle to roll over and flip, SPD Chief David Lindley said. The accident occurred while Nelson was believed to be attempting a traffic stop, Lindley said.

Lindley first said Thursday he believed Nelson suffered a concussion and no serious injuries, but the police chief said he learned the injuries were worse than expected Friday.

“He has a cracked vertebrae in his neck and a broken wrist,” Lindley said. “He also has a cracked orbital bone in his face in addition to the concussion he suffered.”

Lindley was in Tupelo yesterday to visit the injured officer.

“I hope to visit with him ... in ICU and be with his family,” Lindley said. “(SPD wants) to help out any way we can.”

On Thursday, Lindley said the accident is still under investigation and it is not known how fast Nelson was traveling.

“It couldn’t have been a worse place for him to run off the road. He hit a telephone and flipped over the shoulder of the road,” Lindley said Thursday.

Anyone with information in regard to the other vehicle involved in the traffic stop should call SPD at 662-323-4134 or the Golden Triangle Crime Stoppers at 662-494-1090.

Nelson was hired as an officer for SPD this past October and was introduced at the Dec. 6, 2011 Board of Aldermen meeting.

Section Editor Nathan Gregory contributed to this report.

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