Two Die in Fort Smith When Truck Crashes into House

OCTOBER 2, 2006 - Posted at 7:43 a.m. CDT

FORT SMITH, AR - Fort Smith police are trying to figure out what caused a pickup truck to ram into a house, killing an elderly man in his bed and injuring the man's wife.  The truck driver was also killed.  Police say a passenger in the truck was not injured, but was not cooperating with officers in their investigation.

The crash occured early Saturday morning on Brooken Hill Drive.  Police said the truck smashed through a bedroom wall and landed on top of the bed, killing Harold Bidwell.  The truck's driver, 19-year-old Bradley Gindlesberger, also was killed.

The passenger in the truck, who police have not identifed because he is a juvenile, walked away uninjured, but did not notify authorities.  Police say that after officers located him, he did not give them many details.

Emergency responders said Harold and Barbara Bidwell were both talking when rescuers arrived.  But by the time the truck could be lifted off the two victims, Harold Bidwell had died.  Barbara Bidwell was taken to a hospital.  She had a large burn on her back where the truck's muffler pressed down on her.

Police estimate the truck was going about 50 miles per hour when it hit the house.  The speed limit in the area varies from 25-to-30 mph.

A bottle containing whiskey was found at the accident site, and police suspect it came from the truck.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)