By RACHEL PARKER DICKERSON

LOG CABIN STAFF WRITER

Passers-by stopped to help a man swimming away from his sinking tractor trailer rig at Beaverfork Lake on Tuesday afternoon.

A row of downed guardrail posts was the only evidence there had been an accident as Patty Montgomery waited for emergency personnel to arrive. She was on her way home with her daughter, Katy Starnes, and son-in-law, Ben Starnes, when they saw the truck in the water.

"He had got out and was swimming toward the bank," she said. Another passer-by had already called 9-1-1.

"We just went down on the bank to see if we could help him in some way to get out of the water," she said. Her son-in-law and two other men pulled the driver out of the water, she said.

Ben Starnes said, "He was swimming at first, then he barely made it. I had to jump in and get him. It was scary."

Heath Dow, a bus driver for elementary summer school for the Conway School District, was driving a school bus with no children on board when he saw the truck in the lake.

"I didn't actually see him go in," he said. "I came around the corner and saw his truck. It was probably half way under by then and 30 yards off the bank. He crawled out the window and started swimming toward the bank. He got between five and 10 feet of the bank and he started laying his head under. That's when the other fellow was here, and we pulled him out."

William McIntire, 60, of Conway, was the driver of the truck. He said he was on his way back from the repair man when the accident occurred.

After the passers-by pulled McIntire out of the lake, he lay on the bank until emergency personnel arrived. With their assistance, he walked up the bank to the roadside where he sat on the front bumper of a fire truck and rested. Despite his ordeal, McIntire said he was OK.

According to Public Information Officer Sharen Carter, McIntire was arrested by the Conway Police Department on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and careless or prohibited driving.

(Staff writer Rachel Parker Dickerson can be reached by e-mail at rachel.dickerson@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1277. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)