Ole Miss football players and staff members had heavy hearts this Fourth of July due to the death of a teammate. Sad news about the death of walk-on offensive tackle Park Stevens, 20, came out Wednesday afternoon shortly after the Columbus native was involved in a wreck with a semi-truck in Chickasaw County.
Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze issued a statement Wednesday night regarding the death of the 6-foot-5, 320-pound Stevens, who played his high school ball at New Hope and came to Ole Miss after two seasons at East Central Community College in Decatur.
“Our team is hurting tonight with the loss of Park. He was a tremendous young man that was loved by his teammates and coaches, and Rebel Nation will never forget him,” Freeze said in the statement released by Ole Miss Media Relations. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Stevens’ family, his friends, our team and all those he touched during his life.”
Freeze wasn’t alone in issuing thoughts and prayers. Quarterback Bo Wallace said this via his personal Twitter account (@BoWallace14): “Times like these Rebel Nation comes together!! Prayers to Parks family and my teammates!!”
Running back Jeff Scott (@FinallyRich3) tweeted: “Rest in peace @_parkstevens didn’t get a chance to start his career prayers go out to his family. We lost a brother.”
Stevens joined the Rebels this past spring and was listed as a backup tackle coming out of drills. On his Twitter account he talked about being in class Wednesday morning and going home to see his family over the break.
Details about the accident were being handled by the Mississippi Highway Patrol, who responded to the accident site located on U.S. Highway 45 at the intersection of Egypt Road. Stevens’ pick-up truck was headed south when it slammed into the truck. Stevens, who was not immediately identified by MHP officials until family was notified, was killed on impact. The driver of the truck, according to the MHP, was not hurt. Traffic along the highway was stalled for an hour, according to the MHP.
This was the second deadly accident to occur at the intersection this summer. According to the Chickasaw Journal, the driver of an 18-wheeler was killed May 15 while five others were sent to the hospital following the three-vehicle accident.
Funeral services will be held Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Mt. Vernon Church at 200 Mt. Vernon Road in Columbus. Stevens’ Rebel teammates and coaches will serve as honorary pallbearers.
The funeral will be preceded by visitation from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., also at Mt. Vernon Church.
“Thanks for great things being said about our son/brother,” Stevens’ family said on his Twitter account Thursday morning. “We welcome all to come who can.” (July 5, 2013, Page 6A)