by Max Brantley
Another driver who saw the accident told Woodruff County authorities Reed's SUV, eastbound on a straight stretch of U.S. 64, veered off the road and hit a tree. He was dead when a trooper arrived at the scene, the State Police said. The vehicle reportedly drove straight off the road, without a sign of attempted correction as it left the highway. That led to speculation that Reed might have had a heart attack or other health problem that contributed to the accident. He reportedly was on an errand for his farm business.
Reed, 59, briefly was a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in 2010, but dropped out of the race. He recounted to reporters yesterday in Little Rock, following his interview with the UA Board, how he'd had sleepless nights and elevated blood pressure during that period.
The UA Board, of which Reed had once been a member, Thursday chose Dr. Donald Bobbitt as system president to succeed retiring Alan Sugg. Sources close to the board said that the board was evenly split in the final analysis between Reed and Bobbitt, before a consensus developed in the executive session for Bobbitt. Reed, a UA undergraduate and law school graduate, was a former president of the Arkansas Farm Bureau. He would have turned 60 Aug. 1. He said in a statement distributed yesterday that his experience in law, education, agriculture, general business and public services was the "right mix" to lead the system.
A friend who spoke with Reed by cell phone about an hour before his death said he was in good spirits and "at peace" about the UA board's decision. He invited his friend out to join him in some field work he had planned.
Statements from the UA and others follow on the jump, as well as a preliminary State Police summary that is in line with information first reported here based on Woodruff County authorities. Wordsmith Rex Nelson pays Reed a fond tribute here.
I am deeply saddened by the unexpected loss of my friend Stanley Reed. The pain of his passing is felt across the University of Arkansas System family. He served our state and university with honor and distinction in numerous roles and always carried himself with class and decency. He was an outstanding trustee and businessman, a wonderful husband and father, and an extraordinarily kind person. Our thoughts and prayers are with Stanleys wife Charlene, his children Haley, Nathan and Anna, and his grandchildren. The Reed family will always hold a special place in the University of Arkansas community.
- Dr. B. Alan Sugg, President, University of Arkansas System
On behalf of my colleagues on the University of Arkansas Board Trustees, I want to express our profound sorrow for the passing of Stanley Reed. An exceptional public servant who was successful in everything he chose to do, Stanley was a great ambassador for the University of Arkansas. Throughout his life, he represented humility and grace. Our deepest sympathies are with the Reed family during this difficult time.
- Dr. Carl Johnson, Chairman, University of Arkansas Board of Trustees
STATE POLICE STATEMENT
A preliminary fatal crash summary of the motor vehicle crash involving Stanley Reed, 59, of Mariana will be released later today. A copy of the preliminary report will be posted to the department’s web site at http://www.asp.state.ar.us/fatal/index.php
The crash scene was located one mile east of Augusta along U.S. Highway 64, according to Arkansas State Trooper Kurt Zigenhorn of the department’s Highway Patrol Division, Troop D. Trooper Zigenhorn was dispatched to the scene at 9:53 AM following a report electronically sent from the Woodruff County Sheriff’s Department to Troop D headquarters at Forrest City.
Reed was the lone occupant of the eastbound vehicle. Trooper Zigenhorn said he believes Reed was returning to Marianna from a farm supply business at Augusta.
The vehicle left the roadway without any evidence of attempting to brake or skid, crossed a ditch, traveled more than 300 feet and struck a tree.
Reed was pronounced dead at the scene.
An investigative report will not be completed until next week.
GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE STATEMENT
Today Stanley Reed, a dear friend of mine and a friend to the people of Arkansas passed away. Stanley was a Christian gentleman who worked tirelessly to better the lives of people in his community and the entire state. From his work at the Farm Bureau to his service as a member of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees, Stanley always had a heart of service. He was a great guy to be around whether in a duck blind or a board room and he will be greatly missed and I know that I join a host of others in praying for his wife Charlene, children Haley Davis, Nathan, Anna and the entire Reed family.
U.S. SEN. MARK PRYOR
My thoughts and prayers go out to Charlene and the Reed family today. Stanley Reed was a longtime champion for rural Arkansas and farm families in our state. He was a strong family man and was devout in his faith. He will be sorely missed.