Mississippi ex-Gov. Haley Barbour hospitalized after wreck

Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour was hospitalized Wednesday after wrecking his SUV while swerving to avoid a dog on a rural road, law enforcement officials said.

Barbour, 75, had the wreck near Wolf Lake outside Yazoo City, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Jackson. Barbour lives in Yazoo City.

Yazoo County Sheriff Jake Sheriff told The Associated Press that Barbour was airlifted to University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson after the wreck, which happened at about 5:30 p.m. A news release from the Mississippi Highway Patrol hours later described Barbour as “stable and alert” with injuries that were not life-threatening.

Barbour is a Republican and served two terms as governor, from January 2004 to January 2012. His first term was shaped by Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed large swaths of the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 2005.

Barbour helped secure billions of dollars from the federal government for Katrina recovery and was criticized for directing $570 million to a port expansion project instead of low-income housing.

“The restoration program is important to recapturing a major portion of the region’s job base and to filling a national need for more port capacity,” Barbour said in a May 2009 statement to a U.S. Senate committee.

Barbour was White House political director for President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s and chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1993 to 1997. Barbour was high-profile Washington lobbyist before becoming governor and returned to lobbying after leaving office.

Sheriff said Barbour told emergency responders that a dog ran out in front of him, and the former governor swerved and hit a culvert. The BMW SUV ended up on its side. Barbour was wearing a seat belt, and the airbag deployed, Sheriff said.

Sheriff said officers did not find a dog near the accident site.

Barbour had a cut on the side of his head and told emergency responders that his hip and left shoulder hurt, Sheriff said.

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