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Overpass name to honor slain jogger

by Noel Oman | May 6, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.

An overpass on U.S. 67 in rural Jackson County will be named in honor of Sydney Sutherland, the 25-year-old nurse who was kidnapped and killed while jogging near the overpass in 2019.

"This is the overpass where Sydney was killed, and transported from, to her final days on this earth," Donny Ivie, the director of Jackson County Emergency Management, said in a letter to Marie Holder, a member of the Arkansas Highway Commission from Little Rock, asking for the honor.

The commission, meeting in Little Rock, approved the request Wednesday.

A sign in each direction will be placed on the Jackson County Road 42 overpass northeast of Newport.

Under department regulations, requests for signs must be made by Jackson County. The Quorum Court voted unanimously to support the the request at a special meeting April 27.

The county "feels privileged to have signs honoring Sydney Sutherland, a registered nurse, avid runner, loving Sassy to her nieces and devoted daughter, who lost her life at this overpass," according to the resolution.

Sutherland's body was found on Aug. 21, 2019, two days after she was last seen going for a jog near Arkansas 18 between Newport and Grubbs.

Sutherland was a registered nurse at Unity Health-Harris Medical Center. She had passed her exams to become a registered nurse only a few months before her death.

Quake Lewellyn of Jonesboro was arrested in Sutherland's death. He is charged with capital murder, kidnapping and abuse of a corpse. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

Sutherland attended Tuckerman High School. Lewellyn attended the same school. The two were a few years apart but knew each other, according to detectives.

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