A crash on Interstate 49 in Miller County early this morning blocked traffic in both directions and caused a number of fatalities and injuries. Preliminary statement from State Police:
Arkansas State Troopers have blocked the north and southbound lanes along a portion of I-49 in Miller County while they investigate a crash scene involving multiple vehicles. Initial reports indicate there is an unconfirmed number of fatalities and personal injuries involving individuals found at the crash scene.
The crash occurred shortly after midnight and is located approximately nine miles south of Texarkana. Traffic is being re-routed near Fouke along U.S. Highway 71. The detour around the crash scene is expected to be active for several hours.
UPDATE AT 7 AM:
Three people died last night in what State Troopers initially believe were two chain-reaction collision scenes along the north and southbound lanes of I-49 nine miles south of Texarkana. At least seven people were injured and transported from the scenes by ambulance to Christus Saint Michael Health Care and Wadley Regional Medical Center in Texarkana. An unknown number individuals reported minor injuries and initially declined hospital care.
The chain reaction collisions began to occur about 11:45 PM (Monday night, December 21st) and State Troopers say dense fog was present in the area at the time which may prove to be a contributing factor in the collisions.
The first collision happened when a southbound commercial carrier truck slowed and was struck from behind by vehicle traffic. A total of ten vehicles were involved in the chain-reaction collisions along the southbound lanes.
About the same time as the first southbound collision, three commercial carrier trucks collided in the northbound traffic lanes directly across the highway median from the southbound crash scene. One of the trucks was transporting a large amount of glue that spilled from the containers onto the highway.
Detours off both sides of I-49 have been established and traffic is traveling a short distance along U.S. Highway 71 as the investigation continues and clean-up operations are underway.
UPDATE: At 10:40 a.m., State Police said southbound lanes had reopened, but the northbound lanes remained closed.
UPDATE: At 1:20 p.m., one northbound lane was open to traffic.