875th Offers Assistance To Tornado-Stricken Stuttgart

Stuttgart, AR (KAIT)- Two looting arrests were made this weekend in Stuttgart after an EF-3 tornado hit their town Saturday. That's why members of the 875th Engineer Battalion, from Jonesboro, are giving up 48 troops to aid in assisting law enforcement in traffic control.

"We've got checkpoints set up throughout the city to make sure we can get in control of the traffic," said SPC Dennis McGinnis, of the 875th.

Traffic control is critical because energy crews must get in and out of hard-to-reach places, so they can restore power to the 2,400 people without it.

"I'm so glad the National Guard has sent troops here," said Sonny Cox, Arkansas County Judge. "That's the batallion I was in so I'm very grateful."

Stuttgart Mayor Marianne Maynard agrees, the extra help provided by the National Guard and neighboring law enforcement agencies has helped.

"They have helped so much with the relief," Maynard said. "Our police department did a great job too, though. Within minutes they had it organized and were going door to door."

The town is under a curfew. Noone is allowed out after 6 p.m.

The 39th Infantry Brigade would have offered assistance in place of the 875th, but they're in Iraq.

The 875th was deployed on a 3-day mission, but they say they'll stay until no longer needed.

Questions or Comments? E-mail me at rsmith@kait8.com