A woman is in critical condition at Arkansas Baptist Medical Center after being struck by a vehicle Sunday.
According to Maj. Andy Shock with the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Department, Theresa Gaines, 47, was picking cans with her uncle along Clinton Road when she was hit by a truck driven by Jason D. Whitney, 34 of Conway.
"The suspect told our deputies that he had been driving north bound when he hit what he thought was a mailbox," Shock said. "When someone in his vehicle told him they thought he had actually hit a person that was on the side of the road, he turned around and attempted to help the woman by flagging down a vehicle and calling for assistance."
While officers were speaking with Whitney, they noticed an odor of intoxicants coming from his person and administered standardized sobriety tests, which the suspect failed. Shock said that Whitney was taken to Conway Regional Medical Center to have his blood checked for intoxicants due to the serious nature of the victim’s injuries.
"When the suspect was taken to the hospital to have his blood checked, he was above the legal limit," Shock said. "Any time there is an accident involving injury, if the suspect has a blood alcohol level of .04 or higher, they can be charged. Due to the suspect having a .05 blood alcohol level, our deputies smelling intoxicants on his person and the suspect leaving the roadway and striking the victim, he was arrested and cited with driving while intoxicated and reckless driving involving physical injury."
The victim’s brother, Terry Shipman, said that his sister is in an induced coma while she recovers from her injuries, which include serious facial trauma from the victim being hit by a side mirror on the truck.
"She is in an induced coma and the doctors have told us she will need many surgeries to fix the broken bones she has as well as plastic surgery to fix the damage done to her face when she was hit," Shipman said. "The impact of being struck tore her face."
Shipman also stated that investigators at the scene stated that his sister tried to get out of the ditch after she was hit.
"The officer told us that he had never seen anything like it, she tried to climb out of the ditch after she was struck," Shipman said. "We believe she was trying to get some help."
Shock said that his investigators have been in contact with the victim’s physicians and while they expect her to pull through, she remains in critical condition.
Whitney remains at the Faulkner County Detention Center on a $1,560 bond.
(Candie Beck is a staff writer and can be reached at 505-1238 or at firstname.lastname@example.org)