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UPDATE: Driver identified in fatal four-vehicle 'chain reaction' wreck

by Grace Brown, Steven Mross | March 16, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.
A Piney Fire Department firefighter sweeps debris from Thornton Ferry Road Monday afternoon after a fatal four-vehicle collision. Several of the vehicles involved in the collision are visible on the sides of the roadway. - Photo by Grace Brown of The Sentinel-Record


The driver of a 2009 Mercury Marquis who was killed Monday in a four-vehicle wreck on Thornton Ferry Road has been identified as Leslie Ann Roberts, 32, of Hot Springs, according to an Arkansas Department of Public Safety fatal crash summary released Tuesday morning.

Roberts was northbound on Thornton Ferry near Westpine Drive shortly after 2:30 p.m. when she reportedly crossed the centerline and collided head-on with a southbound 2005 Ford Excursion, driven by James Dodd, 78, of Hot Springs.

Roberts’ car then struck the rear of a northbound 1997 Mercury Crown Victoria driven by Gary A. Adkins, 75, of Hot Springs, and overturned. Roberts was pronounced dead at the scene by Garland County Coroner Stuart Smedley.

A 2005 Lincoln Navigator, driven by Barbara Dodd, 75, of Hot Springs, which was also southbound, struck the rear of the Excursion after it was hit by Roberts’ vehicle. Adkins and James and Barbara Dodd were all injured and transported to CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs for treatment.

The report notes conditions were clear and dry at the time of the wreck.


An unidentified woman was killed shortly after 2:30 p.m. Monday after she reportedly crossed the centerline on Thornton Ferry Road, causing a four-vehicle "chain reaction" wreck, according to Arkansas State Police Sgt. Kevin Steed.

The woman, whose identity had not been released as of presstime, was driving a Mercury Mariner eastbound on Thornton Ferry "at a high rate of speed per witnesses," when she "possibly" attempted to pass a Ford Crown Victoria "on the double yellow" and "couldn't get around it" and struck a Ford Excursion head-on, Steed said.

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Her vehicle was deflected and collided with the back of the Crown Victoria and then flipped over while a fourth vehicle that was following behind the Excursion collided with the rear of it, he said, "causing a four-vehicle chain-reaction accident."

The driver of the Mercury was pronounced dead at the scene and the male driver of the Excursion sustained severe injuries. The driver and passenger in the fourth vehicle, who Steed believed were a husband and wife, were also injured and transported.

"Everyone involved in the wreck was transported," Steed said, although the driver of the Crown Victoria reportedly was taken by private vehicle from the scene.


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