A 19-year-old man was killed Monday night when debris from a severe storm collided with his vehicle as he drove westbound on Robinson Avenue in Springdale.
Arkansas State Police identified the victim as Austin Wayne Deere of Prairie Grove.
Springdale police responded to the accident on Robinson Avenue, near Powell Street, at about 7:30 p.m. Monday.
Deere was driving on Highway 412 when strong winds blew a street sign over, and collided into Deere’s windshield when he was driving westbound on the road, causing him to crash, according to an Arkansas State Police report.
The storm prediction center says a wind gust of 69 miles per hour was recorded in Springdale at the same time as the accident.
“It would have gone across three or four lanes of traffic and then went through the windshield and it busted that windshield, it would`ve had to been traveling at a pretty high rate of speed to have done that type of damage,” said Lt. Derek Hudson with Springdale Police.
Deere was pronounced dead at the scene.
“It’s just so hard, i don’t know how we’re going to deal with it,” said his aunt, Karen Grant.
Mel Collier, owner of Collier Drug, says Deere was making deliveries at the time of the accident.
Deere had been employed there for about a little over a month and was described as a hard worker.
“He had a heart of gold, he always had the sweetest smile and always giving you hugs, he was such a family person,” Grant said. “Family meant the world to him.”
Deere graduated from Prairie Grove High School last year and was planning to attend college in the fall.