Marion County is grieving the loss of what it feels like “one of its own” following a fatal accident that claimed the life of former Columbia resident Forrest Phillips and another man.
Phillips, 60, of Hattiesburg was killed in a head-on collision at 9:54 p.m. Tuesday in Walthall County near the Pike County line.
Phillips was traveling eastbound of U.S. 98 when a Kia Forte driven by Yamin Polk, 36, of Magnolia was traveling westbound in the eastbound lane and struck Phillips’ Toyota Sienna head-on. Both drivers were pronounced dead on the scene. They were the only two people involved in the accident, which remains under investigation by the Highway Patrol.
Phillips was preceded in death by his brother, Scott Phillips, who was an attorney in Columbia. He is survived by his wife, Pam Phillips; sons, Chip and Clay Phillips; parents, Forrest C. and Nellie Phillips; sister, Lee Phillips Lawrence; brother, Perry Phillips and two grandchildren.
The night of the accident Phillips was traveling home from officiating a game in Amite, La.
Reuben McDowell, a friend of Phillips who is also a sports official, said this week that the tight-knit officiating community is devastated.
“To lose a member of our officiating ‘family’ so tragically is just devastating to everyone. This loss really hits home for so many because we are all on the roads many nights each week, often traveling together to and from sports events and this accident could have easily involved any of us,” McDowell said. “Forrest was a knowledgeable and experienced official and so well liked and respected. It’s a huge loss – to the Phillips family first, but also to all of us who were involved in this arena of his life.”