CLINTON — A head-on collision Thursday, Sept. 17 on Highway 65 resulted in three people being transported by helicopter to medical care. One of the three was later pronounced dead.
Joy A. Longest, 61, of Drummonds, Tennessee, a passenger in one of the cars, was pronounced dead at UAMS the afternoon of the accident.
The accident took place in front of Ozark Health on Highway 65 at 11:15 a.m., according to the Clinton Police report.
Per the report, Longest was the passenger in a 2018 Subaru being driven north on Highway 65. As the Subaru was abreast of the hospital, a southbound 2016 Chrysler 200 driven by David Allen McMullin Jr., 19, of Heber Springs crossed into the northbound lane and hit the Subaru head-on.
Witness reports compiled by police state the southbound Chrysler crossed over both northbound lanes before hitting the curb, moving briefly on the sidewalk and then and swearing back toward the northbound lanes. As it began crossing back over is when it hit the Subaru.
One witness was in a northbound SUV which swerved to avoid the Chrysler, seeing it hit the Subaru through his rear view mirror.
Accident photos show the Chrysler’s engine and part of its drive line on the sidewalk, dislodged from the car, on the northbound side of the road. The Chrysler came to a stop in the left-hand southbound lane.
The Subaru, after the impact, crossed over the southbound lanes before coming to a stop on the sidewalk on the southbound side of the road.
Police said good fortune had he Jaws of Life on Hand to cut open the badly-damaged cars and extract the driver.
One man in nearby traffic had a pry bar and a hammer and began helping police open the cars so emergency crews could get to the people inside.
City of Clinton Fire Chief D.L. Webb said the second stroke of fortune was when a Jaws of Life was on-scene right away. Close to the accident and traveling on the highway was Amkus Regional Sales Manager Jeff Holt, who had one of the company’s Jaws of Life in his car. After receiving permission from first responders, Holt began using the tool to aid in first responder access.
The police report states that McMullin was very combative in the ambulance and crews needed police assistance to restrain him in order that he could be medicated for transport.
Helicopters were used to transport all three, each seperately.
According to a 911 Dispatch spokesperson, some initial confusion took place when dispatch was informed by Survival Flight that it did not have permission to use the nearby hospital landing pad. This was apparently a misunderstanding, and the hospital confirmed that the medical helicopters had permission to land at the facility, if needed. The confirmation took place while helicopters were en route and did not cause a delay, the spokesperson said.
McMullin was taken to Baptist Hospital, Little Rock, while the driver and passenger in the Subaru were taken to UAMS, per the report.