Residents along dangerous section of Harrisburg Road asking for safety measure

Updated: Jan. 4, 2021 at 11:06 PM CST
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) -State police continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding a fatal pursuit that started in Brookland and ended with a fatal crash on Jonesboro’s Harrisburg Road.

The crash, which happened on New Year’s Day, caused extensive damage to a nearby apartment complex after the suspect’s vehicle ran off the road and became airborne. It plowed through a gated fence and backyard before slamming into the back of an apartment.

“We got one building the back is torn completely off. We got a family that’s displaced in a motel right now,” said Major Bowen, the property manager.

Residents who live in the Dogwood Estates Apartments said it looked like a tornado ripped through their neighborhood.

But, they say this is not the first time there has been a crash so close to their homes.

“There’s been several here, several,” said resident Tonya Shaw.

“This is the worst accident by far,” said Peter Vanderveen, the property’s owner and managing member.

Because the road is also a state highway, Vanderveen and others believe the Arkansas Department of Transportation needs to take immediate action to protect them from further crashes.

According to District Engineer Brad Smithee, there are no planned projects in the works for the area.

“The only contact I’ve been able to find is from the city asking us to take a look and consider whatever speed limits signs, and we’ve done those things,” Smithee said. “Again, I’m not aware of anybody having ever asked any specifics or anything like that.”

But, Bowen said that isn’t the case.

“We have made several phone calls to the state asking them to put a guardrail up, and they refused to do it, something that needs to be done immediately,” Bowen said. “We’ve had two fatalities since I’ve lived here, and there’s going to be more if something doesn’t change.”

Region 8 News also spoke to the Jonesboro Police Department to see how often they respond to crashes on Harrisburg Road. The department plans to have that report Tuesday.

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