I-40 Reopens to Traffic after 12-Hour Shutdown Following Multi-Vehicle Wreck

FEBRUARY 21, 2005 - Posted at 7:21 a.m. CST

BRINKLEY, AR - Interstate-40 eastbound between Little Rock and Memphis has reopened to traffic following a double-fatality accident that closed all traffic west of Brinkley for twelve hours yesterday.

The accident involving a van, a tractor-trailer and a steel company freightliner happened at about 8 a.m. Sunday on the Monroe-Prarie County line.  State Police at Troop D in Forrest City said clean-up took longer than expected, and only one lane of eastbound traffic reopened at 8 p.m.  Both lanes were re-opened around 2 a.m. this morning.  Traffic continued to be diverted into this morning onto U.S. 70, a two-lane road running parallel to the interstate.

Police said the accident started when Edward Freeman lost control of his eastbound van, jumped the median and collided with a westbound tractor-trailer.  The collision sent the trailer into the eastbound lane, where it was hit by the freightliner carrying a load of fencewire for an Alabama steel company.

The freightliner overturned and caught on fire and driver Steven Biggs was killed.  So was Freeman.  Police said the tractor-trailer driver was not injured.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)