July 4, 2013 8:24:37 PM
EGYPT, Miss. -- A member of the University of Mississippi football team was killed Wednesday in a traffic accident in Chickasaw County, Miss.
The Highway Patrol says in a statement that 20-year-old Park Stevens of Columbus was killed when his pickup collided with the rear of an 18-wheeler at Egypt Road and U.S. Highway 45A around 3 p.m. Wednesday. Stevens was pronounced dead at the scene.
The patrol says the accident is under investigation.
"Our team is hurting with the loss of Park," said Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze. "He was a tremendous young man that was loved by his teammates and coaches, and Rebel Nation will never forget him. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Stevens' family, his friends, our team and all those he touched during his life."
Ole Miss officials say Stevens joined the Rebels in the spring as a walk-on, transferring to Ole Miss after two seasons at East Central Community College. Stevens went through spring drills as a backup offensive tackle.
Stevens played at New Hope High School where he started on the offensive line for the first time as a senior and helped the team reach the second round of the 5A state playoffs. He participated in the Max Emfinger All-American Bowl and the Mississippi-Louisiana All-Star game following his senior season.
Stevens spent his sophomore and junior seasons at Oak Hill Academy in West Point and started at defensive tackle.
Coach Hugh Freeze posted on the Ole Miss Facebook page that team's thoughts and prayers are with the Stevens' family and friends.
Visitation will be Saturday at Mt. Vernon Church in New Hope from 11-1:30 pm. The funeral will follow at 1:30. Park's Rebel teammates and coaches will serve as honorary pallbearers, according to a University of Mississippi press release.
This article contains some reporting by The Associated Press.