Spirit Ride holds ceremony at Crosby Commons

Published 7:00 am Saturday, May 26, 2018

Friday afternoon the national Sprit Ride stopped in Picayune to pass the Spirit Casket from Moss Towing in Bay St. Louis to Walker Collision in Picayune.

The Spirit Ride is an effort to raise awareness about the move over law. During the ride, a Spirit Casket, which represents the lives of first responders who have been killed in roadside accidents, is driven by towing companies from state to state. It has been to more than 140 cities so far this year.

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Although the afternoon threatened to rain the event out, the weather cleared just enough for the ceremony go on. The event took place at Crosby Commons and involved transferring the casket from the back of a Moss Towing vehicle to the back of a tow truck from Walker Collision Center. After the transfer was finished, Darren Champagne, owner of Walker Collision Center, drove the casket to the front of the park’s stage for a short ceremony.

Spirit Ride representative Mike Corbin began the ceremony with a short speech about the effort.

“Today we call out to all motorists – move over and give us room to work,” Corbin said.

After Corbin spoke, Champagne gave a short blessing for those lost in roadside accidents, followed by a moment of silence.

Corbin said a few more words in honor of the movement before playing a guitar and singing an original song he wrote for the Spirit Ride.

After his song, Corbin passed a baton to the other participants.

“By turning over the baton, you will hear beads cascading down, sounding something like a whoosh of a passing car – representing a time that cannot be taken back,” Corbin said.

After the baton was passed, Corbin thanked everyone for attending and ended the ceremony.

Champagne said he originally heard about the movement by reading Towman Magazine and immediately signed up to be a part of the movement. He said it took awhile, but when the movement’s 2018 schedule was released, Walker Collision was added to the list.

Champagne said he has a close call almost every time he is working a roadside incident.

“I tell people a lot, if you’ve never had the experience you don’t know – but people who are out there do. You’ll be standing there and all of a sudden you’ll kind of feel a vacuum,” he said.

Champagne said he would be transferring the casket to another towing company in Zachary, La. Saturday morning.