DERMOTT, Ark. — Five people were killed and five others injured after a Freightliner semi-truck hauling cooking oil collided with a van belonging to school serving disabled adults in southeast Arkansas, authorities said.
The crash happened Monday afternoon on U.S. 65 when the 15-passenger van failed to yield when crossing U.S. 65 in rural Chicot County and collided with the big rig, Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler said Tuesday.
Sadler said the van belonged to C.B. King Memorial School, a nonprofit that provides services in several southeastern Arkansas counties to people with developmental delays or disabilities, according to its website.
“Our C B King Family is hurting tonight,” the school’s director of programs, Lora Medina, said in a statement Monday. “We don’t have the words right now to express our pain. The Adult Center in Arkansas City will be closed for now as we process what has happened.”
The five people killed in the crash ranged in age from 19 to 73, state police said. The drivers of both vehicles were injured, along with three other passengers in the van, state police said.
A state police report identified the 18-wheeler driver as 52-year-old Charles Fowler of Brinkley, Arkansas. His condition was not listed by authorities.
State police will assign a reconstruction team to try to determine what led to the collision, Sadler said.
“At this juncture in the investigation, it appears that the driver of the van did not see the oncoming traffic,” Sadler said Tuesday morning.
The crash occurred south of Dermott, which is about 100 miles southeast of Little Rock in the Mississippi River Delta region.
The Trucker Staff contributed to this report.
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