Vicksburg Teenager is Killed in Hunting Accident
By Sam Knowlton
[12/28/03] A Vicksburg teenager
was killed Saturday morning when a rifle discharged and shot him
accidentally while he was hunting in Tensas Parish, Sheriff Ricky Jones
Ernest "Ernie" Rials Jr., who was 16 and a 10th-grader at
Vicksburg High School, was shot in the head by a rifle he was moving in the
bed of a pickup on private hunting land, Jones said.
Tensas authorities were called at about 9:30 a.m., Jones
said. The accident happened about three miles south of St. Joseph, the
sheriff added. Jones said Ernie died instantly.
Tensas Coroner John Roberson said late Saturday he had
ruled the death an accident.
Ernie was the son of Pete Rials and Vickie Lee and Tommy
Crutchfield, all of Vicksburg. He lived with both his mother and his father
at different times, a family friend said.
He was a football player at VHS, said head coach Alonzo
"What a great young man," Stevens said of Ernie.
Coach Toriano Wells said he helped coach Ernie this past
"He was the type of kid who, in practice, would do all
that you asked him to do without complaint," Wells said. "He gave you the
best that he had, and he was a player who never stopped hustling."
A 12-year-old cousin of Rials' was in the bed of the truck
with him when the accident happened, Jones said. No adults were in the
truck, but the fathers of both boys, with whom the boys had been hunting,
were nearby, Jones said.
Jones said he did not know what made the gun discharge.
Ernie had been hunting for several years and had killed a
deer during the morning hunt, said Robert Rials of Vicksburg, Ernie's uncle.
Ernie was preceded in death by his grandfather, Willie D.
Rials; and his grandparents, Charlie and Violet White.
In addition to his parents, he is survived by his
grandmother, June Aden Rials of Vicksburg; sisters
Violet Rials, Lindsey Rials and Tiffany Crutchfield; and a brother, Tommy
Services are scheduled for 2 p.m. Monday at Fisher Funeral
Home with the Rev. Rick McAlister of New Vision Family Worship Center
officiating. Burial will follow at Green Acres Memorial Cemetery.
Visitation will be from noon until the service at the