Clutch Failed in Auto Auction Accident

March 7, 2003
Posted at: 5:34 p.m. CST

JONESBORO, Ark. -- The vehicle involved in an accident that left 28 people injured at an auto auction had a mechanical malfunction according to investigators.

A dark green Kia Sephia crashed into a set of bleachers after its driver, 40-year-old James Thompson, lost control of the vehicle on February 21. Twenty-eight people were injured in the accident, including a male child that was trapped underneath the vehicle.

The investigation of the vehicle by Dr. John Morris of Ryan Engineering in Siloam Springs, revealed that the car had a malfunction with its clutch. However, the vehicle's brakes were in working order. The results have not been officially released, but the findings were confirmed to KAIT by Jonesboro Police detectives.

"We haven't really decided what that means," Jonesboro Police Det. Danielle Featherston said. "The clutch not working properly did not affect the operation of the vehicle.

"If the brakes had been depressed, the vehicle would have stopped," Featherston added.

Thompson has submitted blood and alcohol tests to investigators. Those samples have been forwarded to the Arkansas State Police for analysis. Results have yet to come back, according to Featherston.