Tragic Mishaps Dominate News of the Week

Thursday, June 5, 2014
Piggott High School grad Blake Morgan was killed in a single vehicle crash north of the city Sunday morning.

Much of the region has been in mourning the past week and a half, as a handful of tragic mishaps claimed several lives and pushed first-responders to the limit both physically and mentally.

The first incident was a fatal house fire at Corning, reported Monday evening, May 26 in which a woman from that city died under suspicious circumstances.

The wealth of bad news continued Thursday, May 29 when a 17-year-old Marmaduke resident drowned in a farm pond north of the city.

Rector grad Sarah Bean was one of four young people killed in an early morning crash Monday at Paragould.

The next incident was a freak fatal crash on Saturday, May 24, at McDougal, as a Pollard man died after his truck struck a spray unit and was pinned beneath for a period of time.

During the early morning hours of Sunday, June 1, a Piggott man died in a tragic accident on a county road north of the city, and early Monday morning a Rector High School graduate was one of four young people killed in a single vehicle crash at Paragould.

Corning House Fire Claims Woman's Life

BY Fred Martin

Courtesy of the Courier

Corning resident Marcia Dobbins died in a house fire on East Elm Street Monday evening, May 26, succumbing to smoke and soot inhalation, as reported following an investigation by the Corning Police Department.

Just before 8 p.m. Monday, May 26, Corning Police were informed by a passerby of smoke coming from a residence on East Elm (Highway 62). Officers and Corning Fire Department personnel responded to find the residence filled with smoke.

According to the CPD report, Dodd's body was found in the east bedroom of the home and was sent to Arkansas Crime Lab where the cause of death was verified on May 28.

Funeral services for Ms. Dobbins were conducted Saturday, May 31, 2014.

Marmaduke Teen Drowns

A Marmaduke teen is dead following an accident which occurred Thursday, May 29. According to a report from the Greene County Sheriff's Department, 17-year-old Trevor Potter and a friend were swimming in a small pond southwest of Marmaduke city limits on Greene County Road 522 at night when Potter reportedly began complaining of chest pains, and had trouble remaining afloat. According to the report, Potter's companion attempted to keep the teen's head above water, but was unable to do so.

Investigators believe Potter was submerged for approximately 30 minutes.

Preliminary findings indicated the tragic death was an accident with no foul play suspected.

McDougal Fatal

A Pollard man was killed in a two-vehicle crash Saturday, May 31, west of McDougal when the truck he was driving collided with a farm implement along U.S. Highway 62.

The accident report indicates the impact of the collision pushed both vehicles from the highway onto County Road 311. The driver of the pickup, Vernon Songer, 64, of 471 Highway 62, Pollard, was trapped in the wreckage.

The driver of the implement, a sprayer unit, was Roger Culver, 31, of Pollard. He was not injured in the accident.

According to Deputy Michael Beasley of the Clay County Sheriff's Department, the accident occurred about 9 a.m. at the intersection of the highway and county road. Both vehicles were eastbound at the time, with Songer's trailing the spray unit. As his truck approached the other vehicle from behind, Songer apparently pulled into the left lane to pass as the spray unit began to make a left turn and the collision occurred.

Beasley noted the impact pushed both vehicles about 20 yards onto the county road, where they came to rest with the spray unit on top of the pickup and Songer trapped inside. The deputy said when he arrived at the crash site first responders were already on the scene, including an ambulance, and efforts began to extricate the victim from the wreckage.

He further indicated the collision sheared-off one of the rear wheels from the spray unit, which compounded the effort to remove it from the truck, making the extrication impossible. Initially, rescue workers attempted to use a small lift, along with several large wooden blocks, to stabilize the implement but the effort proved futile. Fortunately, according to Beasley, a boom truck passed by the accident scene and was pressed into service.

Utilizing the boom truck, the wreckage of the implement was stabilized and rescue workers were able to remove Songer from the truck. He was then airlifted from the scene to The Med, in Memphis, where he later died.

Beasley's report indicates the Songer vehicle was apparently traveling over the speed limit at the time of the crash, but added he was unable to determine the extent of the excessive speed.

The sprayer unit is the property of Legacy Equipment of Corning.

Piggott Man Killed

A single-vehicle accident early Sunday morning north of Piggott claimed the life of a local man, as his truck ran off a county road and caught fire. Killed in the mishap was Blake Alan Morgan, 21, of Piggott, who was the only occupant of the vehicle.

According to a report from Deputy Russ Latimer of the Clay County Sheriff's Department, the accident occurred about 2 a.m. on County Road 344, just west of the Hitts Chapel Church. Morgan was driving the vehicle westbound when it crested a small hill and he apparently lost control. The report indicated the pickup ran off the north side of the roadway and came to rest in a grove of trees, trapping Morgan inside.

A witness to the crash was first on the scene and summoned help, but told investigators the truck quickly erupted in flames and he was unable to assist the victim.

The sheriff's department dispatched the Piggott Fire Department to the scene, on the report of a truck fire. Upon arrival the firefighters noted the vehicle was fully engulfed and at this point were informed by those on hand the victim was still trapped inside.

The fire personnel then attacked the blaze, and despite at least one small explosion from the gas tank, were able to extinguish the vehicle.

Clay County coroner Paul Hoggard responded to the location and pronounced Morgan dead at the scene, allowing rescue personnel to remove him from the truck. The body was then transported from the scene to Hoggard and Sons Funeral Home in Piggott.

Morgan was an honor graduate of the class of 2011 of Piggott High School and was active in football, baseball, golf and FFA. The complete obituary may be found in that section of this website.

RHS Grad Killed

An early morning accident Monday claimed the lives of four young Paragould residents, one a graduate of RHS. Sarah Bean, 19, a 2012 RHS graduate, Michael Martin, 20, Barry Weyer, Jr., 20, and Nathan Swafford, 20, were killed in a fatal one vehicle crash while traveling south on Rockingchair Road/Greene County Road 765 near Brown's Chapel Baptist Church outside of Paragould at approximately 4:30 a.m. Monday. A report of the accident by the Arkansas State Police states the Honda Civic the four were riding in crested a hill and apparently lost control, striking a tree before splitting into two pieces.

Bean, Martin, Weyer and Swafford were pronounced dead at the scene.

The report indicated Martin was driving when the accident took place.

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