Little Rock Woman Dies In Bike Accident In Eureka Springs Race

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EUREKA SPRINGS (KFSM) - A cyclist on the trails at the Fat Tire Festival in Eureka Springs died after crashing her bicycle.

Thirty-nine-year-old Laura Wooldridge of Little Rock came out of the woods at the trails at Lake Leatherwood covered in blood, according to bystander Jared Joseph. Joseph said he saw her walk out of a trail carrying her bicycle.

"When I saw her she was covered in blood, and I was like oh gosh she crashed and then when I got up closer to her and realized what she had done, I went wow we have got to get her to somebody pretty quick," Joseph said.

He said she was walking and talking without too much difficulty.

"She was calm and collected and she kept apologizing to me," Joseph said.

He said she bleeding profusely from her lip and chin area.

"It was just kind of pouring out, because her face was literally like opened up," Joseph said.

Joseph called to paramedics and helped get Wooldridge onto an off-road vehicle. From there the Eureka Springs EMS looked over her injuries.

"She needed a higher level of care than we could provide here locally, so we went ahead and sent her to Washington Regional, we contacted air-evac," Asst. Chief Tom Dransfield said.

Joseph said the helicopter was on the ground for 30 to 45 minutes before taking off with Wooldridge inside. He said racers around the festival were saying Woolridge had been biking for years.

"She was wearing her full race getup," Joseph said, "Somebody said she's a veteran rider is what I heard that she had been around the sport a long was just one of those freak things."

Emergency crews said the accident happened around 9:30 a.m. Authorities said Wooldridge's body is being transported to Little Rock where she lived.


  • News?

    I thought you had to know how to write and form proper sentences to be a journalist. So much for quality journalism.

  • James Morgan

    Please correct her name to “Laura” not “Laure”. She was a good friend and well loved in the sport of mountain biking throughout Arkansas! I have ridden with her many times and she was a huge ambassador and proponent of the sport especially for women! She always had a smile on her face and one couldn’t help but smile as well while in her presence! She was well experienced and always wore safety equipment. It is such a sad thing to see such a beautiful person and soul to pass in such a way! What the first witness to assists her described was exactly the kind of person she was and no one would have ever expected anything else to come out of her mouth! We all LOVE YOU Laura!

  • Jared

    I was the one interviewed at the time I did not know she had passed away. I am very sorry to here this news. I’m truly shocked and saddened.

  • Buffy

    Why did it take 30-45 minutes before the rescue helicopter took off? Why were they just sitting there and not taking her directly to a hospital???

    • FedUp

      The helicopter pilot was waiting for orders from the medical team before ascending. This is protocol.

    • Metco

      As a local EMS Helicopter pilot, one will stabilize, secure & transport. Once airborne it can be an extreme challenge for the Med Crew to take care of an issue that is best taken care prior to lift-off. EMS helicopters work around what is called the “Golden Hour” and sad to say some don’t always make it, however, it’s certainly not for our lack of effort. We do the best we can as quickly as we can with safety being #1. We fly day and night in some of the worst weather and tightest LZ’s and do not have the luxury of going airport to airport. The job we do is dangerous and challenging and we do this to help others. The loss of a loved one is never easy and I am truly sorry for the loss of yours.

  • Libby

    They may not have taken off immediately as they needed to try to stabilize her first. There was no doubt a reason. I didn’t know her but we have mutual friends. My heart breaks for all who love her.

    • Buffy

      I’m assuming she died of internal injuries. Something that might have been detected sooner had they gotten her to a hospital.

      • Hayden

        It’s tragic. Please stop looking for people to blame. Let her family, friends, and loved ones mourn instead of pushing some minor agenda of which you do not have direct knowledge.

    • Hayden

      My condolences on your friend.

      It did appear (via time stamps) as though your concern had been answered then you reissued your question.

      • Buffy

        Hayden, Its OK. I think everyone is upset and on edge. I found out today that she died in the helicopter, on route to the hospital. It makes me sick that this happened. My brother was supposed to race too but decided not to bc he wasn’t going to have a chance to pre-ride. However, two of his friends went and wrecked pretty bad. One had to go to the hospital and get stitches. The other guy was just scratched up. Its a good reminder just how dangerous this sport can be.

  • Yolonda Buchanan

    This is devastating. Why were the bikes on this terribly crooked road. This is negligence and the race organizers have her blood on their hands. This road is only for very experienced riders.
    What a waste of an innocent person’s life.

    • Anonymous

      It wasn’t a road ride. The accident happeneded on a trail. There is blood on no ones hands. There was an accident and a good person was lost. That is what is important. Not trying to assign blame where there is none. Please dont make ignorant comments.

    • Fellow Racer

      Yolonda – Suggest you restrict your comments to areas where you have knowledge. This obviously isn’t one of then.


    FELLOW RACER- thank you
    Yes i will agreed that the trail condition was not all that great but as a mt rider/racer we have to cautious ourselves when riding these trails…we have to ride to live it or stay at home.

  • Keith D

    Mountain biking is just that, riding bicycles on mountainous terrain, there’s always risk involved. This was obviously a tragic freak crash of some kind.
    It is good to ask some questions about what happened. Not to place blame but to ask “Was there more that could have been done? Can we be better prepared next time?”
    It sounds like she was given the best quickest care possible.

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