A fatal wreck at the intersection of Highway 22 and Highway 23 west of Paris last week has prompted calls to make the intersection safer.
On Monday, Feb. 27, a 2016 Freightliner tractor-trailer truck driven by Darin Lee Moeller, 45, of Sarcoxie, Mo., collided with a 2002 Peterbuilt driven by Bobby Eugene Bonds, of Charleston, at that intersection. The collision caused the Feightliner trailer to flip over, crushing the tractor and killing Moeller. Bonds was injured and transported to Mercy Hospital in Fort Smith.
In the aftermath of the accident, Logan County Sheriff Boyd Hicks and State Sen. Gary Stubblefield, R-Branch, and others are trying to get something done to improve safety at the intersection. Hicks said last week that he’s directed deputies to patrol the area and strictly enforce traffic laws and speed limits for a half-mile in every direction from the intersection. Stubblefield said last week that in the aftermath of the most recent accident, he got phone calls from constituents about the intersection and contacted Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department Director Scott E. Bennett last Wednesday.
“He told me the highway department is sending a team to evaluate the situation at that intersection,” Stubblefield said. “I don’t know what they are going to do but he told me he would let me know when they decide.”
Hicks said he has also spoken to Stubblefield, State Rep. Jon Eubanks, R-Paris, and Logan County Judge Ray Gack about getting something done.
“I want some help in getting the highway department to do whatever they can to make that intersection safer,” Hicks said. “If not a stop light, then caution lights, and warning signs at a minimum. They could put divots in the road surface to warn drivers that you’re approaching an intersection and slow down. Any of those things would help.”
Hicks said last week, the intersection has a dangerous history.
“I’d say it’s one of the most dangerous intersections in Logan County,” Hicks said. “I know of at least four very bad accidents that have happened there in the last two years.”
One of those accidents happened last October. A driver collided with a car driven by Michelle Coget of Shaver Road. Her mother and father were passengers in the vehicle. All were injured in the wreck. The most serious injuries were suffered by her father and included eight broken ribs.
“He thought his life was over because he couldn’t breath,” she said Monday. “Since the wreck, we’ve been talking to everybody we can about getting something done. Two weeks before my accident, I was told someone also died in an accident at that intersection.
“I try to avoid that intersection now if at all possible,” she said. “It’s just too dangerous and something has to be done.”