June 12, 2006 - Posted at 7:18 p.m.
PARAGOULD, AR -- Paragould Police and Arkansas State Police are investigating a two-car accident in Paragould that left two Region 8 children dead.
The Arkansas State Police report says nine-month-old Tylar W. Russell and three-year-old Dustin D. Russell were killed when the they were riding in was hit after 27-year-old Christy Branch ran a stop sign at the intersection of East Vine and South Third Street Sunday evening. About three blocks worth of homes lost power when Branch's car hit Tammy Russell's 1998 Ford Explorer, knocking it into a telephone poll.
Neighbors say while this accident is tragic, it's an all too common sight at the two-way stop.
"There are several car accidents here because they run the stop signs and they go through here so fast," said neighbor Pearline Gladish, "There have been four accidents here in the last three months."
"I been here three months and have already seen eight wrecks and this little boy right here. It's pretty rough," said neighborhood resident Alex Murphy.
Paragould Police say this tragedy could have been prevented in more ways then one.
"The front passenger, a male baby, was in a child restraint and was buckled into the child restraint. It does not appear at this time that child restraint was buckled into the seat. There was a child restraint in the backseat where we believe the other male child was sitting. At this time, we are still investigating to determine if the child was buckled into the child restraint," said Lt. Ken Jackson of the Paragould Police Department.
Investigators say the initial impact caused air bags to deploy, possibly causing the deaths of the children. The children's safety seats and seat belts from the automobile have been sent to the State Crime Lab for further investigation.
Neighbors say Sunday's accident is proof that something needs to be done at the intersection.
"One thing we need is a stop sign. What it is, there are a lot of people that work here and they don't stop. They just shoot on through and that is how the wrecks happen," said Murphy.
Gladish works with the boy's aunts and says the family is suffering greatly.
"Their boys were fine one minute and then the next minute they were gone," said Gladish.
Police are still investigating this accident. Charges may be filed pending the results of Branch's toxicology report. Lt. Jackson says there are no plans at this time to make this intersection a four way stop.