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County Employee Injured in Crash with Semi

A Hempstead County Road Department employee was injured when the dump truck he was driving was rear-ended by an 18-wheeler on Highway 29 South Tuesday afternoon.

County Road Department Superintendent Richard Kidd said Gary Stevens was transporting a load from Hempstead County Road 5, where they removed a culvert that had to be replaced following recent flooding, to dump at a location in the Patmos area. Around 3 p.m., Stevens was traveling south on Highway 29 South when he began slowing down to make a turn east onto Highway 355 in Patmos. According to the driver of the Dana Transportation semi, Saiku Kawara, of South Carolina, he saw the county dump truck slowing down as they approached the intersection with Highway 355 but did not see the blinker. Kawara said he tried to stop but in the heavy rain, he was unable to come to a stop before crashing into the rear of the truck. The dump truck’s blinker was functioning and on when responders were on scene following the crash.

A Patmos First Responder drove up on the scene and checked on the drivers. Stevens was complaining of neck and back pain but was out of the vehicle and walking around.

Hempstead County Deputies, Arkansas State Police, Patmos First Responders and Pafford EMS responded to the scene. County Judge Jerry Crane and Road Department Superintendent Richard Kidd also responded to check on their employee.

Firfighters and ARDOT employees slowed traffic down and directed it through the open northbound lane as law enforcement conducted their investigation and Pafford tended to Stevens. Kawara was not injured.

Stevens was transported by Pafford to Wadley Regional Medical Center in Hope.

An ARDOT crew was called to the scene to put sand on the large amount of oil that spilled across the road.

Trooper Antonio May investigated the crash. Trooper May cited Kawara with inattentive driver.

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