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Tuesday, September 02, 2014, 8:27 p.m.
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Driver arrested after fatally striking firefighter, injuring two others

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was originally published March 20, 2012 at 6:14 a.m. Updated March 20, 2012 at 2:13 p.m.

Bryce Allen

— A Jacksonville man who drove around barriers at an accident scene and struck two firefighters and a police officer has been arrested on a murder charge after one of them died.

One Jacksonville firefighter was killed while another firefighter and an officer were severely injured when 47-year-old Bryce Allen struck them with a van on State Highway 161 Monday, police said.

The firefighter was identified as Captain Donald Jones, a 31-year veteran of the department.

Officer Daniel DiMatteo is now in stable condition and firefighter Jason Bowmaster remains in critical condition after undergoing surgery at a Little Rock hospital.

According to an arrest report from the Jacksonville Police Department, Allen was southbound in the 8400 block of State Highway 161 around 10:30 p.m. when he went around emergency vehicles and struck the three victims.

"The accident scene revealed no signs of Allen attempting to brake prior to striking persons," police wrote in the report. "Also, investigation revealed that Allen appeared to be aiming towards the Fire Fighters and officer."

One of the injured victims told investigators it appeared Allen accelerated as he approached them.

Authorities had been on scene because of an accident involving Allen's mother, Thelma Allen. According to a news release, her vehicle left the roadway and struck a gas main in the area.

Reached by phone late Tuesday morning, Thelma Allen said she wouldn't answer any questions about what happened.

"I gave my report to the police last night," she said. "... I'm all banged up and I don't feel like talking."

In addition to the charge of second-degree murder, Allen is also being held on two counts of criminal attempt to commit murder in the second degree.

Officials in Jacksonville District Court say Allen made a first appearance Tuesday morning, entering an innocent plea and having his bond set at $75,000.

Jacksonville Fire Department Chief John Vanderhoof called losing a firefighter in the line of duty his "worst nightmare."

"[Jones] will be missed by his family as well as his Firefighting Family," Vanderhoof said in a statement. "He will always be in our hearts and memories."

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

Thank you for coming to the website of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. We're working to keep you informed with the latest breaking news.

This article was published online only and did not appear in today's newspaper.

Comments on: Driver arrested after fatally striking firefighter, injuring two others

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Displaying 1 - 4 of 4 total comments

mfish5907271939 says... March 20, 2012 at 9:38 a.m.

What a nutt case... put him in the roa an run him over like he did those poor men who were helping others.... would save us taxpayers alot of money

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DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... March 20, 2012 at 3:26 p.m.

"Authorities had been on scene because of an accident involving Allen's mother, Thelma Allen. According to a news release, her vehicle left the roadway and struck a gas main in the area."
~
One would have to ask if he ran his mother off the road.

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LONNBH says... March 20, 2012 at 10:45 p.m.

This was an accident, created by a previous acident. Happens all the time. To charge a man with murder is crazy over-kill, on damage control. But this is an election year,....... " Politics".

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arcatx says... March 21, 2012 at 2:38 a.m.

LONNBH, did you not read the part where he accelerated toward the men? "The accident scene revealed no signs of Allen attempting to brake prior to striking persons," police wrote in the report. "Also, investigation revealed that Allen appeared to be aiming towards the Fire Fighters and officer." He's lucky he's not being charged with Capitol Murder.

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