3 Dead, Several Injured in Tragic I-49 Pile-upby Jana Ritter - Published: 12/22/2015
Tragedy struck twice in Arkansas late Monday evening when two chain reaction collisions killed a total of three people, including a truck driver and seriously injured at least seven.
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According to the Arkansas State Police, the two chain-reaction collisions occurred along Interstate 49 near the town of Fouke, in southwest Arkansas. The first crash occurred at about 11:45 pm Monday when a tractor-trailer heading south had slowed down and was rear-ended, which caused a chain-reaction crash involving ten vehicles. Although the north and south lanes are separated by a median, at about the same time the accident occurred in the south lanes, three tractor-trailers also collided in the northbound lanes. To make matters even worse, one of those trucks was transporting glue and the impact caused the glue to spill all over the highway.
Officials say that dense fog may have been a factor in both crashes as it was reported in the area during that time. It is now confirmed that one of the people who died as a result of this tragedy was a truck driver who may have left his vehicle to help others and was struck down on the road. Two other people are confirmed dead and seven people suffered serious injuries and were taken to hospitals in Texarkana, while several others suffered minor injuries.
State troopers were forced to shut down the I-49 in both directions for hours as authorities investigated and cleared the scene. Motorists were rerouted onto Highway 71 as a detour. The southbound lanes were reopened just before 11 a.m. Tuesday morning, but the northbound lanes remained closed as the investigation and cleanup continued. By Tuesday afternoon, one of the northbound lanes had reopened.