Fund Set Up for Newport Victims

September 7, 2006 -- Posted at 11:01 p.m. CDT

NEWPORT, AR -- The "Friends of the September 5th Accident Fund" has been started to show support and to offer financial support for the victims of Tuesday night's accident.

"What we really want to do is set this fund up to help.  These families are going to need some help," said Hardee's District Manager Patricia Clark-Toombe.

The accident happened when a truck driven by Gary Nicholson, Jr. rammed into the side of Hardee's Tuesday night.

"This is a catastrophe.  People didn't plan for this to happen, so they're going to need some assistance," said Clark-Toombe.

The fund was started by Hardee's owner Stacy Schmidt, who kicked off the donations with a $5,000 contribution.

"It's a wonderful thing that he thought of and we're just tickled to be a part of it," said Jim Gowen, Sr., chairman of the Merchant and Planters Bank.

The drive through of Hardee's was re-opened on Thursday, the first step in a long process of repairing the damage done to the store.  Clarke-Toombe said getting the dining area of the store re-opened isn't a priority for Hardee's, they're more concerned with helping heal the community.

"Our main concern is helping the victims and their families," said Clark-Toombe.

Employees at the fast food restaurant are handing out information about the fund to customers, letting them know why this fund is necessary.

"There's going to be a tremendous need, even with insurances and things like that.  These people are going to need a lot of money and a lot of time," said Gowen.

The fund will be managed by area ministers who will decide where the funds are needed the most.

Again, the fund is called the "Friends of the September 5th Accident Fund" and you can make a donation at the Merchant and Planters Bank.

P.O. Box 650

Newport, AR


You can call them at 870-523-3601.

Make all checks payable to "Friends of the September 5th Accident Fund."