A portion of Highway 25 was shut down Thursday morning as authorities continued their investigation of Sunday's fatal crash at the intersection of Friendship Road.
Lt. Casey Dunn, who heads the traffic division at the Conway Police Department, said CPD maps out all aspects of any crash that results in a fatality or other serious injury to know and better understand all factors that played a role in these crashes.
This reconstruction process is necessary for these types of crashes because they bear a high risk of being followed by civil or criminal court proceedings.
"There's so many unknown factors when there's a wreck, especially if there's a fatality," Dunn said, noting oftentimes officers are only able to gather one person's viewpoint in crashes involving a fatality or serious injury.
By reconstructing crashes, authorities are able to get a detailed perspective on every factor that played a role in each given incident by collecting evidence and other data from the crash scene and the vehicles involved.
"This is a way, through math and science, that we can reconstruct and get all sides — an impartial look — at what actually happened," Dunn said.
Reconstructing crashes takes time, Dunn said, adding two fatal crashes reported along Highway 25 in May — a motorcycle vs. truck crash at the Friendship Road intersection on May 13, and a three-vehicle pileup at the Friendship Road intersection on May 27 — are still under the investigative process of the reconstruction phase.
In continuing its investigation of Sunday's crash that resulted in a 16 year old's death, the CPD closed a portion of Highway 25 at the Friendship Road intersection Thursday morning as it verified measurements for its crash reconstruction.
Sunday's fatal crash occurred shortly after 5 p.m., according to an Arkansas State Police report.
Authorities said a 2001 Nissan was westbound on Friendship Road when it reportedly failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection on Highway 25 and Friendship Road when it collided with a 2013 Honda Odyssey that was northbound on Highway 25. When the Nissan hit the Honda's driver side door with its front bumper, the two vehicles spun across the highway until the Honda ultimately collided into a 2007 Dodge Caravan that was southbound on Highway 25.
"Both vehicles continued spinning westbound across state Highway 25 [until the Nissan] struck a curb and went airborne before coming to a rest in a drainage ditch on the west side of state Highway 25," the preliminary crash report reads in part. "[The Honda] struck [the Dodge Caravan] which was in the turning lane on state Highway 25."
A 16-year-old passenger who was riding in the Nissan was pronounced dead at Arkansas Children's Hospital later that day.
According to the report, two juveniles and an 18 year old also suffered injuries following Sunday's crash.
Weather conditions were described as clear and authorities said the roads were dry at the time of the crash.
An investigation into the crash remains active and ongoing as authorities work to reconstruct the crash.
Following the fatal crash on May 20, there will now be an increased police presence along Highway 25.
"We are hoping that being visible on Highway 25 will serve as a reminder to drivers to obey the speed limit, as well as all traffic laws," CPD spokesman LaTresha Woodruff previously told the Log Cabin Democrat. "We aren't doing this to pick on anyone, it's about safety."
The goal behind increasing mobile and stationary patrol is to ensure safety and remind motorists to be mindful of their surroundings, Dunn said, noting many motorists speed along the nearly 1-year-old 1.1-mile extension of Highway 25.
While the reconstruction phase behind the May 13 fatality crash investigation has not been completed, Dunn said authorities suspect the crash resulted from a speeding violation.
Authorities found the speedometer, which broke off the motorcycle during the crash, showed the vehicle was traveling at 85 mph, according to a crash report.
"On scene I located a tachometer that read 8500 RPM and a speedometer that read approximately 85 MPH," one of the responding officers wrote in his initial report of the May 13 motorcycle vs. truck crash. "These were lying in the roadway and had been separated from the motorcycle upon impact. Based on this evidence and witness statements, I believe [the motorcycle] to be operating in excessive speeds and found at fault for the accident."
Dunn said that while the tachometer read 8,500 RPMs and the speedometer read 85 mph, authorities can't verify that was how fast the driver of the motorcycle, who died during the crash, until the crash reconstruction is complete.
"Through directed patrols and focusing on violations in the area, we hope we can save lives," Dunn said. "I have not seen an area with that high a concentration of fatalities and other violations in my 20 years at the Conway Police Department. If being out and writing tickets is what it takes to slow people down, we will continue our efforts to create a deterrent [to help prevent these crashes from happening]."