Driver In Fatal Crash Faces Negligent Homicide Charges

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The driver in a crash that killed a Rogers woman early Thursday morning faces negligent homicide charges.

James Paul Barber, 29, was arrested on suspicion of negligent homicide, careless driving and driving on a suspended license. He remains in the Washington County Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

Samantha Lynn Wesson, 21, was killed Thursday at about 12:30 a.m. when the car she was riding in ran off the right side of the road, near the intersection of Viney Grove Road and Bethel Blacktop Road near Prairie Grove, according to a state police crash report.

Wesson was a passenger in the 1992 Chevrolet Lumina driven by Barber. The car slid sideways and struck a tree on Wesson’s side of the car after it left the roadway, according to Arkansas State Police.

The weather conditions were clear and dry at the time of the crash.

Barber was transported temporarily to Washington Regional Medical Center, before he was booked into jail. Wesson’s body was taken to the county coroner’s office, according to the crash report.

A former firefighter who discovered the wreck tried to cut Wesson out of the seat belt using a pocket knife. He told police he noticed a smell of alcohol on Barber, according to a preliminary report from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

The witness also told police he saw Barber drinking motor oil after the crash, according to the preliminary report.

Barber told responding crews that his car was run off of the road by a Chrevrolet pickup truck, the report states. Police drew blood from Barber for an alcohol and intoxicants test. The results of that test have not been released.