CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, AR (KAIT) – Drivers should soon see an additional police presence on Highway 226 after three people were killed within a week.
Arkansas State Police plan to concentrate their patrols on the seven-mile stretch of highway between Jonesboro and Cash, where a crash killed a woman on Tuesday.
The additional patrols should come as welcomed news not just for those who travel this busy highway.
Many residents in Cash have recently complained of the dangers on Hwy. 226, as they have seen traffic increasingly build in the area.
They attribute the congestion to a construction project that wrapped up several months ago just west of town, where the highway opened to four lanes. Neighbors have since noticed fewer truck drivers minding the speed limit or heeding stop signs.
"My concern as a firefighter and first responder is that they can't stop like a car can," said Gerald Goza of Cash.
Goza knows that firsthand. He worked the wreck this week just east of Cash on Hwy. 226, where a tractor-trailer hit another vehicle head-on killing one woman and injuring two others.
"Right now, this here is hot spot for speeding," Goza said about the highway, "most especially with your big trucks and everything, so we need to see more police patrol."
That's exactly what state troopers plan to do.
"We're going to try and increase our patrol," said Senior Cpl. Chuck Wilson. "We are somewhat shorthanded, but we will increase our patrol due to the severity of the crashes that we're working out there."
Wilson says problems occur when traffic funnels into two lanes, creating more congestion from nearby construction sites.
Troopers will monitor these areas more closely now, but Wilson says drivers should use extra caution on these narrow rural roads.
"In just a few seconds, you can either be on top of someone, hit someone that's stopped," Wilson said, "or be off in the ditch yourself."
Goza and other Cash residents say when more police cars patrol the Hwy. 226 area, they expect people will slow down, stay safe and cause fewer problems in the future.