Scooba police chief Steven Jackson is pictured with Patsy Spandlin, right, and her son, Jeffery.
Scooba police chief Steven Jackson is pictured with Patsy Spandlin, right, and her son, Jeffery.
By Steve Swogetinsky

Kemper Messenger

What started as a stop for a minor traffic violation in Scooba last week resulted in a potentially lifesaving rescue for two Pearl residents who had been missing for at least two days.

At around 11:45 p.m. Christmas night, Scooba police chief Steven Jackson saw a car run through the four-way stop sign at the crossing of Highways 45 and 16. When Jackson pulled the vehicle over, he could tell things were not right with the driver of the car or her passenger.

“I ran the tag,” Jackson said. “The mother was the driver. She seemed disoriented, and the first thing she said was ‘officer, can you help me get home?’”

Jackson assured her that he would help and asked for her driver’s license.

“She handed me her AAA card and I said that is not your driver’s license. Then I pointed at the license and she gave it to me,” Jackson said. “I asked her where she was from and she didn’t know. I looked at the license and said you are from Pearl. She said that was right.

 “About that time, I got a message from the Neshoba County Communications Center. They asked me to call them.”

Jackson suspected that he might have happened upon a missing person’s case and the Neshoba County communications operator confirmed it. She said the Pearl police had put out a Silver Alert for Patsy Sandlin, 79, and her son, Jeffery Sandlin, 56. They were accompanied by their dog, Boo. Apparently, the Sandlins left home at some time on December 23 and had not been heard from since. The family contacted the Pearl police who put out a Silver Alert.

While the Pearl police were contacting the Sandlin family, Chief Jackson transported the Sandlins and Boo to the John C. Stennis Memorial Hospital in DeKalb.

“They were tired and disoriented,” Jackson said. “The ER staff at Stennis hospital got them something to eat and they seemed to perk up.”

Jackson said he wasn’t sure where the Sandlins had been, but added the son said the last sign he remembered was Mobile. Jackson stayed with the Sandlins until their family picked them up.

“In my experience of 24 years in law enforcement, this is the highlight of my career,” Jackson said. “There were a lot of tears. Anytime you can return a family member home on Christmas day, that is the greatest present you can give.”

Jackson received a card from the family on Wednesday. The note read: To Chief Jackson. We want to thank as the chief for compassion and care of our mother, brother and their dog. You were their guardian angel that night. We are so thankful for your service and may God bless you.”