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Wednesday, December 13, 2017, 3:30 a.m.

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Arkansas man faces negligent homicide charges in crash that killed 2, documents show

By Brandon Riddle

This article was originally published October 12, 2017 at 12:21 p.m. Updated October 13, 2017 at 4:30 a.m.


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An Arkansas man has been charged in a wreck earlier this year that left two people dead, according to court filings.

An arrest warrant was issued Friday for Ronnie Edward Barnes, 58, of Walnut Ridge on two felony counts of negligent homicide involving a vehicle while intoxicated, documents filed in Sharp County Circuit Court show.

Authorities say Barnes’ 2004 Chevrolet pickup, traveling at speeds up to 71 mph, crashed into the right front side of a 2015 Chrysler van as its driver, 86-year-old Phyllis Gatewood of Highland, was making a left turn from U.S. 62/412 in Ash Flat about 4:45 p.m. July 31.

The crash caused both vehicles to travel off the road at a driveway into a Pizza Hut parking lot.

According to the affidavit, Gatewood’s van traveled into a ditch and traveled up an embankment into the parking lot, where it struck two other vehicles.

Gatewood and a passenger inside the van, 93-year-old Nelson Gatewood of Highland, suffered fatal injuries, authorities said.

Barnes was seriously injured in the crash and flown to UAMS Medical Center in Little Rock, according to the affidavit.

A sample of Barnes’ blood was reportedly sent to the state Crime Laboratory, and results indicated that he had methamphetamine and benzodiazepines in his system.

Barnes was released from the Sharp County jail on $5,000 bond around 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, records show. He had been jailed there since about 10:30 p.m. Monday.

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skeptic1 says... October 13, 2017 at 8:38 a.m.

And under Arkansas negligent homicide law all those people's lives will be worth is a misdemeanor conviction, maximum 1 year in jail, and a $3500 fine.

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