UPDATE: The Arkansas State Police added a fatal crash summary late Friday concerning one of the accidents on U.S. Highway 67/167 on Tuesday evening near the Main Street exit in Searcy. According to the report, Cody Williams, 34, of Bald Knob was killed in the second crash, which involved four vehicles. Williams was a passenger in a 2011 Toyota Corolla driven by Rusty Robertson, 27, of Kensett, who was injured.
According to the state police, traffic was congested from the first accident that evening, with vehicles stopped in the southbound lane. At 5:51 p.m., a 2014 GMC Sierra "failed to stop for traffic" and ran into the back of a 2019 Ram 1500. That "caused a chain reaction of front to rear collisions" with the Ram, the Corolla and a 2011 Jeep Renegade, Trooper Cody L. Brown wrote.
The injured was taken to Unity Health-White County Medical Center.
The weather was clear and the road was dry at the time of the accident.
The following is The Daily Citizen's original story Wednesday on the accidents and a third one involving a pedestrian:
Although two multivehicle accidents reportedly occurred Tuesday evening less than an hour apart on U.S. Highway 67/167 at close to the same spot just off the Main Street exit in Searcy, the only White County-related fatality reported by the Arkansas State Police as of 5 p.m. Wednesday was from an accident later that night on Interstate 40.
The fatality involved a 61-year-old Searcy pedestrian who was struck by a 2015 Kia Soul that was traveling east on Interstate 40 in North Little Rock just after 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. According to Arkansas State Trooper Louis Keller, the investigating officer, Jesse Cox was in the middle lane when the front of the vehicle hit him.
The weather condition was listed as clear and the road condition was dry.
The accidents earlier in the day in White County were both rollovers and reportedly involved a total of seven vehicles.
“There were two accidents within about 30 minutes,” Searcy Fire Department Capt. Lance Oakes said. “The first one was a three-vehicle accident. It was between 4:30 and 5 [p.m.] on the first one and the second one was just before 6 o’clock with the white pickup upside down.
“Both of them were on the southbound side, south of the 42 mile marker. I would say they were within approximately 300 feet of each other.”
Oakes said the fire department was called in to extricate, “but when we got there, everyone was out.”
“We more or less established a safe area with our engines,” he said. “We placed them to where we would direct traffic away from the accident if someone came in and we just did the cleanup of the oil and stuff. We were probably on scene 25 to 30 minutes.
“It was quite the backup, I can tell you, because it [U.S. 67/167] was completely shut down.”
While the state police worked the accidents, Oakes said the fire department sent “two engines, a rescue and a battalion.”
“We send one coming from the north and we have one come from our Central Station that will go to Exit 42 and go north, so one’s traveling north and one’s traveling south ... because a lot of times our information is not accurate on which side it’s on,” Oakes said. “... Whenever Engine 1 got close to the exit, we could see the traffic on the southbound side was at a standstill, so we knew the accident was there, so Engine 2 got turned around, back in service.
“Any of those accidents on the interstate are a serious deal, for one because of the traffic control, the safety of the emergency personnel is my No. 1 concern and then after that the patient. We assist NorthStar then.”
Searcy police also worked on traffic control diverting vehicles off U.S. 67/167 onto Arkansas Highway 367 South.
Arkansas State Police Public Information Officer Bill Sadler said Wednesday evening that he had “confirmed through the Highway Patrol Division we did not have a fatality from either crash. That information is contingent upon any delayed information from a hospital ... .”