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North Little Rock man charged in death of 84-year-old man in street-racing crash

by Daniel McFadin | September 15, 2023 at 3:16 p.m.

A North Little Rock man turned himself in to the Arkansas State Police on Wednesday on charges related to a fatality wreck that occurred in Little Rock on April 8.

Darmel Batemon Jr., 20, surrendered at Arkansas State Police Headquarters on felony charges of manslaughter and second-degree battery for his alleged role in the death of Gerald Allen, 84, of Benton.

According to the authorities, Batemon and another motorist were racing on Interstate 430 on April 8 when the fatality accident occurred near the 4-mile marker.

Batemon was driving a 2012 Dodge Charger when he struck Allen's 2015 Toyota Avalon from the rear, forcing the vehicle off the roadway, where it struck a tree.

Allen was killed and his wife, Lucile, was seriously injured.

Batemon was also injured.

“My hope is that this senseless tragedy will serve to help us educate the public about the deadly consequences of street racing,” ASP Colonel Mike Hagar said in a news release. “Mr. Allen’s death was completely preventable. He and his wife should have enjoyed the retirement they earned. Racing and driving at high rates of speed endanger everyone on the road.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated 800 people have lost their lives in incidents related to street races in the last decade.

In Allen’s obituary his family asked “that you consider contacting your state representative and requesting stronger penalties for those who are caught street racing on public roadways so that such senseless and tragic deaths and injuries may be prevented.”

A former member of the Arkansas National Guard, Allen served as commander of the 39th Support Battalion of the 39th Infantry Brigade. He retired in 1986 with the rank of Colonel.

According to his obituary, Allen was also an elected member and contributor to the Arkansas Academy of Civil Engineering at the University of Arkansas, where he graduated from in 1962 with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and later earned his Professional Engineering designation.


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