• Dennis McCaslin

ASP report, sources reveal more details on Monday wreck in Russellville that killed 5-year-old

Updated: May 25, 2021

The fatal accident that took the life of a five-year-old boy in Russellville on Monday occurred when a 23-year-old Clarksville woman drove a 2015 Dodge Dart head-on into oncoming traffic, according to the Arkansas State Police.

Police say Alexandra Saurez was the driver of the Dodge Dart.

Officials say the child, identified by sources as Josiah Garcia of Clarksville, was a passenger in the Dodge, which struck a westbound 2019 Toyota Highlander on the inside lane of the East Main overpass bridge.

A second child, identified to Today in Fort Smith as three year-old Awnrey Bennett of Knoxville, suffered multiple injuries and was transported to Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock.

According to a family member, Awnrey suffered an orbital wall blowout, a fractured nose, a torn spleen and multiple vertebra compression fractures. She also suffered an abrasion from the seat belt on her buttocks and private region.

Today in Fort Smith talked with Larissa Bennett, the mother of Awnrey, on Tuesday who said doctors miraculously planned on releasing her daughter later tonight.

"She's going to have tough road, but they (doctors) say she is going to fully recover," said Bennett, as Awnbrey could be heard chattering in the background of the phone call. "She ate a little something and they said we could take her home tonight. It's really a miracle."

"Something told me before we went in to tighten the straps on Awnbrey's car seat...I promise you I will be an advocate for the proper use of car seats the rest of my life," said Bennett.

Bennett said she, the two children, Saurez and Mikayla Ragsdale (the mother of Josiah Garcia) had traveled to a blood plasma donation center in Russellville together on Monday. Bennett and Ragsdale went into the facility to donate plasma and left the children in the car with Saurez, who they assumed was going to stay in the parking lot.

Ragsdale was the driver of the car prior to the woman entering the blood plasma center, according to Bennett.

The driver of the Toyota, 62-year-old Vickie Keeton and Suarez were both taken to St. Mary's Hospital in Russellville for treatment.

According to two independent sources, toxicology samples were taken from Saurez and were going to be sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab on Friday.

The accident remains under investigation by Criminal Investigation officers of the Russellville Police Department and no further information has been released.

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