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story.lead_photo.caption Three people were killed in a collision between two 18-wheelers on I-40 in Lonoke County on April 24, 2018, officials said.

Three people died in a collision Tuesday afternoon involving two 18-wheelers on Interstate 40 in central Arkansas, a wreck that shut down part of the highway for hours.

The crash near the Carlisle exit in Lonoke County reportedly occurred shortly before 3:20 p.m.

Danny Straessle, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation, said a truck headed east crossed the median and hit a FedEx truck in the westbound lanes.

An Arkansas State Police report said a truck driven east by 64-year-old Jerry Stice of Westville, Okla., crossed into the westbound lanes and hit another 18-wheeler head-on.

Police said Stice died at the scene as did two people in the westbound truck: 47-year-old driver Jesus Escareno of Houston and 55-year-old passenger Mark Lynch of Magnolia, Texas.

Straessle said it was unclear how the truck initially crossed a wire safety barrier in the median and said it may have gone airborne at some point. No other vehicles were involved.

Investigators with the highway department and the Arkansas State Police were on the scene as of 5:40 p.m., Straessle said.

All westbound lanes were closed until around 10:30 p.m., and one eastbound lane was closed for some time as well. Lengthy traffic backups quickly developed in the area as vehicles were diverted onto U.S. 70 at the 193 mile marker.

[Photos by Arkansas Department of Transportation]

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

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Comments

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  • mookye
    April 24, 2018 at 6:52 p.m.

    Prayers going out for the families of both truck drivers and the passenger of the FedEx truck. That interstate is a death trap.

  • MaxCady
    April 24, 2018 at 7:04 p.m.

    One steel cable is not going to stop 80,000 lbs of metal going 65 mph.

  • BRR
    April 24, 2018 at 7:29 p.m.

    As one who travels I-40 frequently I must agree with mookye, it is a death trap. The enormous number of large trucks that dominate the highway pose a threat to all travelers. They are largely uncaring about the non-commercial traffic on the road.

  • hogfan2012
    April 25, 2018 at 9:38 a.m.

    This particular stretch of interstate from Hazen to Lonoke (mm 172 to 194) is especially dangerous and has a large number of fatalities in accidents occurring there. It may be the openness of the Prairie that causes people to let their guard down. Personally, I take Hwy 70 when traveling to LR rather than get on "semi-truck central". I know they have a job to do, I just wish it was on a different road than I have to travel. Prayers for the families of those who died -

  • HarleyOwner
    April 25, 2018 at 11:39 a.m.

    TravisBickle, you are absolutely right. I thought the same thing when I first saw them being installed. They should have used concrete barriers like Texas does. And I'm pretty sure the man they are calling a pssenger in the Fed Ex truck was actually a co-driver.

  • Bullgod1984
    April 25, 2018 at 1:30 p.m.

    This is a shame....

  • MaxCady
    April 25, 2018 at 3:06 p.m.

    @HarleyOwner, and Texas needs them for sure. We were coming back from Galveston in the middle of March and they have those electronic signs down there flashing with the traffic death toll. And they had already had almost 600 deaths!! In the middle of March!!

  • gagewatcher
    April 25, 2018 at 8:55 p.m.

    bless all their hearts and prayers for the families sounds like someone was asleep at the wheel.

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