RAYMOND, MS (WLBT) - Hinds Community College is struggling with a shocking loss. The school's president was involved in a deadly wreck Friday that claimed the life of his wife. It happened around 1:00 p.m. on Highway 49 near the Carnes community, south of Hattiesburg.
Dr. and Mrs. Muse are known as the heart of Hinds Community College.
"Everybody loves them," said Jackie Granberry, HCC's vice president for institutional admissions. "It's like a family, and they are like the head of our family."
News of the fatal wreck has sent shock waves across campus.
"It is impossible to put into words the impact this is having on the college," said Granberry.
The Muses were traveling down to the Beau Rivage in Biloxi for a community college trustee association meeting. According to the Mississippi Highway Patrol, Dr. Muse was driving a white Ford Crown Victoria when he grew tired.
"The driver fell asleep at the wheel while traveling southbound, ran into the median and struck a tree," said Mississippi Highway Patrol Corporal Todd Miller.
The car was mangled, and Vashti Muse, 76, was pronounced dead at the scene. Dr. Muse was taken to Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg with minor injuries. Miller said Dr. Muse was alert and talking after the wreck and was aware that his wife had not survived.
"I believe he's talked with his son, and he's talked with one of our other vice presidents and said he was fine, that he was going to the hospital to have tests run," said Granberry Friday afternoon.
Vashti Muse, along with her husband, has served Hinds Community College for 33 years. Even after retiring in 1996, she continued helping students as a reading instructor. She has received many recognitions including the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education Professor of the Year Award, the Kellogg Institute Leadership Scholarship and was selected as a "Strong Woman" in the Defender category by Baptist Health Systems, Comcast and Lifetime Television.
"She on her own accord will be missed greatly without being the first lady, just as an instructor, she'll be missed greatly," said Granberry.
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