Memorial honors crash victim

Published 12:09 am Saturday, September 27, 2008

Roadside memorials are, sadly, commonplace across the country.

But in Virginia, a special program for remembering the victims of car crashes is in place. One of these signs was erected in Southampton County on Friday.

The Virginia Department of Transportation put up a memorial sign to Vincent “Wayne” Jackson, a 56-year-old truck driver from Farmville, along U.S. Route 258, Smiths Ferry Road. The sign is on the southbound side of the highway, just north of the intersection with Bethany School Road.

Jackson, a Vietnam veteran, was killed when the 5-axle dump truck he was operating crashed the morning of Jan. 23.

“It was a foggy morning,” said Mike Jarrell, Jackson’s stepson, also of Farmville. Authorities told the family that Jackson’s truck “went into the ditch, went into a sidespin, did a 360, and then flipped over,” Jarrell said.

Jackson, who at the time of the crash was working for JR Tharpe Trucking Co. of Burkeville and hauling a load of lime, died on the way to the hospital. The impact of the crash had ejected him from his truck.

Two members of Jackson’s family — his wife, Kitty Jackson of Farmville, and Jarrell — came to the crash site on Friday to watch VDOT put up the sign assembly. The top sign, a white circle on a black square, urges motorists to “drive safely.” A second sign below has Jackson’s name on it.

“I had to get it approved through the county, and get a permit,” said Mrs. Jackson. The signs cost “a little over $100,” she said.

The signs were manufactured by Korman Signs Inc. of Richmond.

A cotton field runs along the highway at the curve in the road where the sign stands. Mrs. Jackson, looking up at the signs, ran a small ball of cotton through her fingers. “I had picked a cotton ball to send to his mother in New York,” she said.