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Union Pacific train crash victims identified

By Ashley Nerbovig

This article was published August 18, 2014 at 1:38 p.m.


Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/MELISSA SUE GERRITS - 08/17/2014 - Workers respond to the aftermath of a 3am head on collision of 2 Union Pacific trains outside of Hoxie in Lawrence County August 17, 2014. 2 individuals were killed and 2 reported injured all believed to be among the crews onboard the freight trains. Due to toxic chemical cargo, some members of Hoxie were evacuated and directed to the Walnut Ridge community center. All highways leading into Hoxie were blocked by Arkansas State Police and local law enforcement personnel, directing individuals to Hwy. 91 East of Hoxie.

Union Pacific has released the names of two men who died and two who were injured Sunday in a train collision in Lawrence County.

Engineer Chance Gober of Whitehall and conductor Roderick Hayes of Mckinney, Texas, were both killed on the southbound train, Union Pacific spokesmen Jeff DeGraff said.

Injured in the crash were engineer Michael Zompakos of Maumelle and conductor Aaron Jeffery of Conway, who were on the northbound train.

The two trains collided around 3 a.m. a half-mile south of the U.S. 67 and 63 exchange, according to Arkansas State Police. About 300 Hoxie residents were evacuated after several cars, some of which contained hazardous chemicals, burst into flames, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

DeGraff said the cause of the collision was still unknown, and the National Transportation Safety Board is leading the investigation.

Read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for more on this story.


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