Medical issue claims driver's life in West Point

 A West Point man had a medical emergency and drove his van through this barricade and across the field. The path can still be seen Monday afternoon leading to the railroad tracks.
Staff Writer

Some type of medical emergency apparently claimed the life of a 73-year-old West Point man Monday morning as he tried to drive from the Wal Mart Supercenter parking lot.

Clay County Coroner Alvin Carter pronounced Johnny Gilson, of 177 Grove St., dead shortly after the accident, which happened at about 11:05 a.m.

Paramedics were trying to save Gilson in the back of an ambulance while awaiting a medical helicopter from North Mississippi Medical Center when Gilson died, Carter said.

Based on new prescriptions found in the van, Gilson picked up prescriptions at Wal Mart, got into his 2003 Ford Winstar minivan and was driving north on the parking lot road in front of the store when he apparently suffered some kind of medical issue.

He continued along the road, ran through a wooden barricade at a dead end and continued about 50 yards through a field before stopping on the edge of the Kansas City Southern Railroad tracks that run between the retailer and the Mossy Oak Mall.

"He must have suffered some kind of emergency to not have been able to stop in that field, to keep the van moving," Carter said, noting Gilson was alone in the minivan. "I am pretty sure he died from a medical issue and not the accident."

Emergency responders, West Point police and firefighters, Clay County Emergency Management and crews from the railroad responded to the scene. Railroad teams are inspecting the tracks to make sure they suffered no damage.
Carter said he plans to ask Wal Mart for parking lot surveillance video today to try to track Gilson's last movements.