by Max Brantley
A wreck shortly before 8 a.m. this morning on Interstate 40 near the White River bridge and mile marker 200 caused a death and forced diversion of traffic from the freeway in both directions, a condition that was expected to last until at least 4:30 p.m. today.
The State Police release:
Arkansas State Troopers were dispatched at 7:50 AM today (Thursday, March 21st) to a report of a motor vehicle crash located in the eastbound lane of Interstate 40 in the vicinity of the White River Bridge (200 mile marker).
One person died in the crash and at least a dozen other individuals were injured in what is described as a multivehicle crash. Air and ground ambulances transported the injured to Stuttgart and Little Rock hospitals.
Based on initial witness statements, State Troopers preliminarily suspect metal debris from the roadway had become airborne and impacted a vehicle which then stopped in the single lane of eastbound traffic, causing traffic from the rear of the first vehicle to slow and stop. Seconds later a commercial carrier truck traveling behind the stopped vehicles impacted the blocked roadway causing a chain reaction crash.
Both east and westbound traffic along I-40 through the area has been diverted to nearby state and U.S. highways to allow for the crash scene to be cleared and the investigation to continue.
As of 3:30 PM, Troopers still at the crash scene were not anticipating the highway to re-open to traffic until 4:30 this afternoon.
UPDATE: Shortly before 5 p.m., it was reported that the freeway was again open.