Multiple 18-wheeler accident snarls traffic for hours - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Multiple 18-wheeler accident snarls traffic for hours

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(Source: Barry Cooney) (Source: Barry Cooney)

REYNO, AR (KAIT) – Thick heavy fog blanketed Randolph County Wednesday morning, bringing with it extremely low visibility and may have been the cause of a 3-semi truck accident just outside Reyno.

The dense fog was forcing motorists to drive at a snail's pace. One of the drivers involved, mail truck driver Bill Young said he was moving very slowly when the accident loomed out of the fog. "I was right there before I seen it. And I mean it was foggy," Young said.

The accident occurred around 8:15 at Reyno in Randolph County. AR State Trooper Moye Hawkins said the grain truck was coming out of Reyno.   Hawkins relates, "The grain truck driver was turning North off of 328 onto 67 and a southbound truck basically hit him in the driver's side."

The southbound refrigerated truck was out of Wisconsin with a load of frozen meat products. The force of the impact expelled much of the load out of the trailer, spilling onto the shoulder just leaving the reefer unit attached to the tractor.

Seconds later Bill Young's northbound truck came out of the fog.

Young related, "When I sees them I said, ‘Lord I don't want to hit that rear end there.' So I seen that shoulder and I cut to the right and missed about half of him."

Young's truck became impaled on the grain truck which was full of soybeans. The grain truck driver also escaped unharmed, but the southbound truck driver was trapped in what remained of her cab.

Bob Holland was having coffee at a cafe only about a hundred feet from the accident site.  Holland noted, "we heard a loud racket and we run out. You couldn't even see the 18-wheelers piled up out here. It was so foggy and everything."  Others arriving early to the scene, described how many north and southbound vehicles had to slam on their brakes to avoid the pile up. It took a few minutes for emergency crews and police to arrive to block the road away in both directions.

Holland describes making his way over the cargo of spilled frozen meat to where the driver was pinned in her truck. The southbound driver, Sarah Rodger, was trapped when the engine was shoved back into the cab. Holland relates, "she was trapped in the truck and I talked to her a while. Then another woman pulled up and I asked her if she would talk to the woman because she could talk to her better than I could. She got her calmed down." The woman was also able to take the driver's dog to a safe location.

It took nearly two hours to get Rodger removed from her truck. Once the fog cleared, the trailers were moved, exposing how bad the damage was to Roger's tractor – it appeared to be compressed about 5 feet.

U.S. 67 was opened up to traffic around 2 p.m. on Wednesday.  Rodger was transferred to the Med in Memphis where her condition was reported as serious.

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