• Dennis McCaslin

Three from Louisiana dead after pick-up hits seven motorcycles on Interstate 40

The deadly crash on I40 near Dyer on Thursday night took the lives of three motorcyclist from Louisiana, according to information supplied by the Arkansas State Police and Arkansas Department of Public Safety.

Officials say an Oklahoma man, 29-year-old Ivan Santos of Norman. was driving a pick-up truck east in the westbound lanes at just after 6 p.m. Thursday when he crashed head-on into a group of seven motorcycles.

Witnesses told Today in Fort Smith the truck was traveling "at a high rate of speed" and "exploded" when it hit the first motorcycles in the group. Citizens reported seeing the smoke from the resulting fire as far away as Ozark,

Leonard Lemar Jr. (45) and his wife Patricia (44) , both from Slidell, la. and Malinda Shano (50) of Terryton, La. were pronounced dead at the scene. The devastation was such that the responding officer couldn't record the make or the models pf the truck or the bikes.

Santos and a passenger, 37-year-old Amber Rodgers of Virginia Beach, Va., as well as Larry Alexie (48) and Virginia Couvillion (42) of Lafite, La., Robert Day (44) of Gretna, la., and Derrick Reynolds, also of Slidell, la were all transported to area trauma centers for treatment of related injuries.

Officers and first responders from multiple agencies worked the scene and traffic was rerouted through Ozark and onto US Highway 64 for the better part of three hours. Those injured were taken to Washington County Regional, Mercy Fort Smith and UAMS.

Trooper Firjohn Ross recorded clear weather and dry road conditions at the time of the crash, which pushes the highway death toll in Arkansas to 187 for 2022.

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