One Dead, Two Injured After Four Semis Crash on I-49

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WASHINGTON COUNTY (KFSM) – One person is dead and two others are hurt after four semis crashed into each other on Interstate 49 in Washington County Wednesday night (Feb. 25).

Troopers with Arkansas State Police said the accident happened in the northbound lanes at the 57 mile marker, near Greenland, just before 10 p.m. after a Volvo semi ran off the road and into the median. The driver, Mark Newswander, 48, of Harrison, Arkansas, then over-corrected causing his semi to overturn and spill ontothe interstate.

A freightliner following him then slowed to avoid crashing into the Volvo truck on its side. That truck was then rear-ended by a Mack truck, which was then rear-ended by a Peterbilt truck.

The driver of the Peterbilt truck, Billy Kramer, from Wisconsin was killed on impact, troopers said. His wife, Irene, was injured.

Newswander was also injured in the accident.

Both Irene Kramer and Newswander were taken to Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville to be treated for their injuries.

The other two drivers involved in the accident were not hurt.

The accident blocked all northbound traffic while authorities worked to clear the scene. All lanes were re-opened overnight.



  • objectivefodder

    They’re ALWAYS following too close, ALWAYS! Every time you look, the trucks are tailgating each other just like cars. Law enforcement doesn’t target them for that or select them out of the line to enforce this common illegal practice. Perhaps it’s time? Trucks need length of distance much more than cars even. Professional drivers know better, but apparently they’re not adhering. Automobiles also need cited. We’ve gotten into this Nascar frame of mind mentality with following too close or drafting on the freeways, especially in the construction zones. Also, I’m sick and tired of cloudy drizzly gray weather days as precipitation falls and horrible visible conditions. You see so many motorist driving without day running headlights while their windshield wipers are activated. Isn’t it illegal to NOT have your headlights on while your wipers are on? Spray kicking up by the trucks and a white or gray sedan on their heals with the car almost invisible. Stupid people driving and operating foolishly. It’s no wonder we don’t have more fatalities. Oh wait, we are having more fatalities. I stand corrected. Darwinism awards issued daily by the coroner. Stupid is as stupid does. Back to work sheep.

    • Rick

      Drving without your headlights on with the windshiled wipers on is a secondary offence law enforcement can only if you a ticket for that if you were stopped for another violation.

  • Fed-up

    Objectivefodder, your comment:
    . It’s no wonder we don’t have more fatalities. Oh wait, we are having more fatalities. I stand corrected. Darwinism awards issued daily by the coroner. Stupid is as stupid does. Back to work sheep.
    I am assuming your the best driver in Arkansas or the world? Accidents happen. How do you know they were following too close? Have you looked at the area of the crash? It’s in a corner and at that time of night it is extremely dark in that area of I-49 and coming around that corner after pulling a hill it would be hard to see a accident until you were right up on it. Try slowing a truck weighing 80,000 pounds at 65 mph at a slight down hill grade. Not as easy as you might think. I’m not a trucker just ex LEO and know the amount of distance it takes to stop a load and driving visibility and other factors involved that might cause a fatal crash

    • objectivefodder

      Your commentary is ludicrous. None of it made a bit of sense. You asked questions without a logical conclusion regarding time and distance and it doesn’t matter if the highway is lighted or not. Fact is, if the trucks were distanced and not following to close, they’d have had plenty of time to stop in time to avoid the catastrophic event. You’ll see once upon the conclusion of the accident that at least the three trucks that subsequently collided were in too close of proximity and likely following to close. The first truck that left the highway would have been either traveling to fast for conditions, or failed to maintain control of his vehicle or persisted in reckless driving. Fatigue or distraction may have been the initial cause or reason, but no matter, a chain of events happened following. And yes, I am a professional operator. NTSB has detailed reports and investigative data to sum up my assessment of predicted circumstantial reporting provided. Professional drivers know their equipment weight and distance of stopping probabilities needed, even on dry road. That spot where the accident happened is on a short straight flat stretch and visibility wouldn’t have been an adverse determining factor in cause of crash. Peace to you and thanks for your service in serving the public. Touché.

      • Fed-up

        My grandfather was a professional driver for well over 45 years, my father was a driver well over 30, both my brothers have been drivers over 15 years a piece. Trucking is in my blood and always been around it and also had my class A years ago. Chose a better profession with less bs involved. I have seen the crash site and also my basis for the comment was to point out that ones automatic response is always the drivers fault. The factors involved may have been following too close, failure to maintain vehicle, careless driving any and all things could be added to that. First thing crash investigators will want from all alive and deceased is a toxicology report and then from there dot and ntsb will look them trucks over with a fine tooth comb checking everything from brake pads to brake lines and any and everything related to that vehicle. Was it coupled right, did it have adequate air to supply the brakes to stop the vehicle, was fatigue or any alcohol drugs involved? Did they take their required rest period during a 12 hr period? Was the vehicles involved able to adequately see a wreck from the angle of the curve of the road? All those and many more come in to play and no one will know exactly what happened until a full report of the fatal crash is outlined and the state and Feds and picked through it to make their final decision.

      • Anonymous

        I just drove through this area and it did in fact happen IN THE CURVE, just before the short straight stretch. I live on the west side of the interstate with just a county road that runs parallel to the interstate separating our property from it. We were getting out of our car when we heard a huge boom and about 15 minutes later a ton of sirens. It ended up being about 2 miles north of our house. It had to have been horrific. Let’s not argue over details we don’t even know.

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