Veteran Mississippi Department of Corrections Sgt. Iris Smith, 53, of Lucedale, died instantly when the MDOC van she was driving collided with the back of an 18-wheeler as she was escorting an inmate from Greene County Hospital to Forrest General Hospital, reports the Clarion-Ledger..

The wreck occurred at J.M .Tatum Industrial Drive on U.S. 49 in Hattiesburg. Smith was alone in the van as another officer rode with the inmate in an ambulance. The accident was reported around 3:17 p.m.

Smith worked at South Mississippi Correctional Institution in Greene County. During her career, she also had worked at George County Community Work Center. She had been with the department almost 15 years, and had been commended for extra effort.

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