Victim Identified In Sonora Car Accident

The identity of the deceased victim in a vehicle accident that took place in Sonora late Sunday night (June 15) has been released, according to Washington County deputies.

Lorianne Gillespie, 24, of Springdale has been named as the victim, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities said the accident happened around 10 p.m.  near the Blue Springs Bridge. The vehicle, a 2007 Jeep Wrangler Sahara, failed to negotiate a curve just after crossing the bridge, authorities said.

The vehicle then left the road, traveled down an embankment and continued into Beaver Lake, according to authorities.

The car was submerged in water when crews arrived on scene, according to deputies.

Divers with both the Benton and Washington County dive teams helped to recover the body about four hours after the accident occurred.

Patrol Lt. Scott Young said the car was about 12 feet under water when they found the victim. He said a variety of factors, including visibility, water currents and locked doors posed problems for divers during their search.

“We knew right where the car was,” Young said.  “We didn’t know the victim was in it until we got it out or mostly out [of the water]. But there’s a challenge with the way that the bottom of the lake is. There’s ledges so you can’t just pull it out. You had to raise it up with an airbag and then pull it out.”

The body was transported to the Washington County Coroner’s Office and will be sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab to determine cause of death. The victim’s family has been notified, and an investigation is ongoing, according to authorities.


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