Meridian Star

August 22, 2013

Star carrier dies of crash injuries

By Brian Livingston /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — A longtime paper carrier for The Meridian Star died as a result of injuries he suffered early Monday morning while delivering newspapers.

    Sgt. Andy West, public relations officer for the Mississippi Highway Patrol's Troop H stationed in Meridian, said Tommy Ray McDaniel, 58, of the Herbert Springs community in Neshoba County, died at a Meridian hospital Tuesday night.

    West said McDaniel was involved in a two-vehicle accident at the intersection of Highway 491 and Highway 16 near Philadelphia. West said McDaniel's Chevrolet Cobalt collided with a Dodge Ram truck driven by Rueben Compton, 60, of Toten Valley, Louisiana. Compton's injuries were not thought to be life threatening.

    West said McDaniel's vehicle was traveling south on Highway 491 as McDaniel ran his paper delivery route. For reasons still unknown, McDaniel's vehicle went through the intersection where Compton's vehicle, traveling east, hit the passenger side.

    West said the preliminary crash investigation stated McDaniel was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash and no airbags deployed.

    McDaniel's route included Philadelphia and the House community on Highway 19 North. Meridian Star Publisher, Tim Holder, said McDaniel was an excellent carrier for the newspaper and that his work ethic and professionalism in managing his route and serving his customers would be sorely missed.

    "I have heard nothing but great things from the people Tommy served and the Meridian Star family is saddened at the loss of such a fantastic man who was not only a valued part of the newspaper but someone who was so highly respected in his community."

    In addition to working as a carrier for The Star for five-plus years, McDaniel was a longtime dairy/poultry farmer. He was awarded the Young Farmer of the Year by Farm Bureau in 1989. He was a member of Herbert Baptist Church.

    Lisa Powell, who is McDaniel's wife's niece, said Tommy, or as his friends knew him, Tom Pete, loved to live and lived to love.

    "His family was number one with him," Powell said. "His friends were very important to him as well. He just left everyone feeling like they were a part of his family."

    McDaniel, whose nickname Tom Pete was given to him by his dad when McDaniel was just a boy, loved to ride his wife, Sheila, on his Harley Davidson motorcycle. Powell said the couple were two halves of a whole and together it seemed anything was possible.

    "He loved her as much as a man could," Powell said. "And the feeling was mutual. Many people who met them wondered if they had just gotten married because they always acted like they were newlyweds when in fact they had been married for 32 years. That is how special they were together."

    Dan Moore, one of the frequent riders with the McDaniels, said he noticed the same thing whenever Tom Pete talked of Sheila.

    "He would get this sparkle in his eyes whenever he mentioned her," Moore said. "You could tell they were something very special. You just don't see that often today."

    McDaniel also was a Bluesman and created many a memory with his family and friends as he played his guitar for them.

    McDaniel is also survived by three sons, Tom McDonald of Klamath Falls, Oregon, Adam Lee McDaniel of Philadelphia, and Andrew Scott McDaniel of Houston, Texas.

    Services will be Friday at 11 a.m. at McClain-Hays Chapel in Philadelphia with Rev. Jackie Strebeck officiating. Burial will follow in Herbert Cemetery.

    Visitation will be held today beginning at 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the funeral home.