Multiple 18-wheeler accident snarls traffic for hours

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

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

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

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

The southbound refrigerated truck was out of Wisconsin with a loadof frozen meat products. The force of the impact expelled much of the load outof the trailer, spilling onto the shoulder just leaving the reefer unitattached 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 tohit that rear end there.' So I seen that shoulder and I cut to the right andmissed about half of him."

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

Bob Holland was having coffee at a cafe only about a hundred feetfrom the accident site.  Holland noted,"we heard a loud racket and we run out. You couldn't even see the18-wheelers piled up out here. It was so foggy and everything."  Others arriving early to the scene, describedhow many north and southbound vehicles had to slam on their brakes to avoid thepile up. It took a few minutes for emergency crews and police to arrive toblock the road away in both directions.

Holland describes making his way over the cargo of spilled frozenmeat to where the driver was pinned in her truck. The southbound driver, SarahRodger, was trapped when the engine was shoved back into the cab. Hollandrelates, "she was trapped in the truck and I talked to her a while. Thenanother woman pulled up and I asked her if she would talk to the woman becauseshe could talk to her better than I could. She got her calmed down." Thewoman 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. Oncethe fog cleared, the trailers were moved, exposing how bad the damage was to Roger'stractor – 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 Memphiswhere her condition was reported as serious.

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