Wrong-way crash on I-40 kills driver, injures four others

 06/25/2018 - 15:16

Arkansas State Police are investigating a Friday morning crash on Interstate 40 near Heth in which a man wanted for fleeing troopers during a traffic stop earlier in the day near Lonoke reportedly caused a head-on collision.
According to a press release from Arkansas State Police, troopers assigned to the department’s Highway Patrol Division and Criminal Investigation Division are investigating the fatal crash that occurred about 16 miles east of Forrest City near the 257 mile marker.
Troopers reported the man who caused the accident was Russell C. Johnson, 39, of Sarasota, Fla. Johnson was killed in the wreck that also reportedly injured several people.
About 10:37 a.m., on Friday, a trooper stopped Johnson’s 2015 Chrysler 200 near the I-40 183 mile marker in Lonoke County, and during the course of the traffic stop, Johnson reportedly fled eastbound. A pursuit of the suspect by state police continued until the trooper lost visual contact with the vehicle, according to the press release.
Nearly an hour later, the suspect’s vehicle was observed traveling east in the westbound lanes of I-40, and a short time later, about 11:30 am., troopers responded to the report of a head-on crash involving several vehicles at the 257 mile marker.
Johnson was pronounced dead at the scene, State Police reported.
Four vehicles were involved in the crash and at least four individuals not related to the suspect were injured, troopers reported. State Police said one of those victims was believed to be in serious condition but was stable when airlifted from the crash scene, according to the press release.
According to the fatality report, Johnson’s vehicle was traveling east in the westbound traffic lanes on Interstate 40 approaching the 257 mile marker when he struck three vehicles that were traveling west on I-40. Johnson’s Chrysler struck a 2019 International truck before hitting a 2015 GMC Sierra. After impact with the GMC, state police said it was unclear if the Chrysler also struck a 2014 Lincoln. However, during the wreck, the Lincoln struck an “impact cushion device” on the interstate.
Three people in the Lincoln were reportedly injured. Nathan W. Davis, 27, was driving the Lincoln, with passengers Allie R. Davis, 26, and Macy G. Aycock, 22, all of Southaven, Miss. Officials with Regional One Med Center in Memphis today said Nathan Davis and Aycock were treated and released on Friday. They did not have a record of Allie Davis being treated at that hospital.
The driver of the GMC, Ronald A. Fisher, 70, of Friendship, Tenn., was also injured and taken to Regional One where he is listed in good condition today.
The driver of the International was not identified by State Police.
I-40 was closed for a long period on Friday and Highway 70 traffic was at a crawl until the accident scene was cleared. Troop D officials said there was not an accident on Highway 70, but a backlog of traffic trying to get around the accident.
“The problem on Highway 70 was due to the diverted traffic,” said ASP officials. “Highway 70 just can’t handle the interstate traffic and gets jammed up, especially with the tremendous amount of summer traffic and construction.”
One lane of I-40 westbound was reopened about 3 p.m., Friday.

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