Police: SUV crossed centerline in Hwy 367 wreck

Photo from crash scene on March 19 on Hwy 367 in Jackson Co.
Photo from crash scene on March 19 on Hwy 367 in Jackson Co.
Traffic backed up after crash on March 19 on Hwy 367 in Jackson Co.
Traffic backed up after crash on March 19 on Hwy 367 in Jackson Co.

NEWPORT, AR (KAIT) – A crashed Wednesday afternoon in Jackson County injured one person.

According to Cpl. Robert Stewart with Arkansas State Police, the crash on Arkansas 367 happened after an SUV crossed the centerline and hit a tractor trailer head on.

The tractor trailer then landed on railroad tracks adjacent to the highway. A train going about three to five mph hit the trailer.

Cpl. Stewart said the train slowed down after see something on the tracks.

The driver of the SUV was airlifted to a Memphis hospital. The person's condition is unknown at this time. No names have been released.

It is also unknown why the driver crossed the centerline of traffic.

At the scene, Region 8 News found other accidents have happened in the same area, some deadly.

Officials from the Arkansas Highway Department in Little Rock said they have met with railroad and county officials. They talked about possibly putting lights and gates up along that intersection.

However, one Tuckerman resident said these changes will come too late.

"I mean, how many people have to die before they do something about it?," Austin Mulholland said. "I don't know, one life is pretty important to me."

Last January, Austin Mulholland almost lost his brother when a train hit the vehicle he and his two friends were in. One of the other passengers did not make it.

"It was his time, 18 years old, fixing to graduate high school," Mulholland said. "My brother could have lost his life, so could the other boy. I mean, yeah, kids don't want to pay attention as good as they should, but there's grown people right here that got hit so wouldn't blame it all on kids."

Mulholland lives on the street that intersects the railroad and said it has always been a dangerous spot.

"It's just a very dangerous crossing," Mulholland said. "They don't keep the trees cut back like they should. You can't hear the train sometimes. They don't blow it half the time and you can't even see. You're trying to look down and there it is."

Mulholland was even involved in a train accident at the same place.

"It terrifies my mom now," Mulholland said. "Every time we leave or every time she hears it, her hair stands up. Luckily, there haven't been more people killed."

Up until now, Mulholland said the county has done nothing to make the intersection safer.

"It's been over a year," Mulholland said. "A kid died and they haven't touched the crossing. Nothing, they've done nothing."

Mulholland said other county roads that intersect the railroad have warnings.

"That one down there, they have a whistle sign down there and not one for here," Mulholland said. "That one goes into a field, this one has residents."

Even though the county is possibly improving the spot, Mulholland and passing drivers will always have reminder of the tragedy.

"Good Lord, everybody down here is just wanting to move now," Mulholland said. "Seeing the cross out there hurts my brother a little bit."

Highway department officials do not have an exact timeline for the changes.

We will let you know when they do.

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