By Joel Phelps
What started as a single but gnarly accident Saturday morning on Interstate 30 led to a chain reaction of car wrecks that left traffic on the highway stalled for 3.5 hours.
There were no serious injuries in the six accidents between Arkadelphia and Friendship, said Tate Chanler, director of the Clark County Office of Emergency Management. Chanler called it a “chain reaction of wrecks” that kept several emergency crews busy until early afternoon.
At 10:06 a.m., a truck hauling two rolls of steel turned on its side at the 73 mile-marker, blocking both westbound lanes and halting traffic from the Country Club Road to the Caddo Valley exit.
More accidents were reported by 10:53 a.m. at the 78 westbound, just before the Caddo Valley exit. One 18-wheeler crashed into the trees on the west side of the highway, while three others wound up in the median at various places on the highway.
A fifth accident involved a semi versus a sedan, and a sixth was a three-car pileup.
Chanler said the scene was cleared after 1 p.m. and traffic was back to normal.
“We would like to commend the firefighters, law enforcement officers and emergency medical personnel who worked six motor vehicle accidents on I-30 this morning and afternoon,” he said.
Firefighters from Arkadelphia, Caddo Valley, Degray, Ouachita Fire Department, and Southwest Rural Volunteer Fire Department provided medical first response, rescue and traffic control. Troopers from the Arkansas State Police, deputies from Clark County Sheriff’s Office and Hot Spring County Sheriff’s Office along with officers from Caddo Valley Police Department completed accident investigations and provided traffic control. EMT’s and paramedics from Baptist Health Medical Center Ambulance and LifeNet,Inc. provided emergency medical care.
“Last but not least we’d like to thank Beene’s Towing & Recovery, LLC, Hudspeth Diesel, Goldens Wrecker, and Tanner’s Towing for clearing the interstate quickly,” Chanler added. “We saw a great team effort from all aspects of our emergency response quickly allowing us to return traffic flow to normal.”