BREAKING NEWS: One person taken to hospital after shooting at Columbus Cracker Barrel Full Story

UPDATE: Emergency director says alcohol and PTSD led to resignation

Lee Smithson

The outgoing leader of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency says he's leaving because of alcoholism and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Posted: May. 14, 2018 3:18 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The outgoing leader of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency says he's leaving because of alcoholism and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Scroll for more content...

Lee Smithson resigned Friday.

RELATED: Mississippi EMA director resigns

He says in a statement that his dependence on alcohol hurt his ability to run the agency and he stepped down after consulting with Gov. Phil Bryant. Smithson says he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder following deployment to Iraq and work after 2005's Hurricane Katrina. Smithson says he began receiving treatment last year. He says the stress agency leadership "only compounded my issues."

Smithson became emergency management director in 2016 after more than a decade directing military support for the Mississippi National Guard. That included coordinating efforts following Katrina and 2010's Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

A colonel in the military, Smithson served in Germany, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iraq.

Related Content

Article Comments

Tupelo
Broken Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 72°
Columbus
Broken Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 73°
Oxford
Scattered Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 70°
Starkville
Scattered Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 70°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather