State Police work two fatal accidents in area

Troopers from the Arkansas State Police were on the scene of two highway fatalities in the area over the weekend.

The first occurred Friday afternoon on Zion Road in rural Izard County. 

According to the state police, a vehicle, driven by Michael Moore, 57, of Evening Shade, left the roadway, struck a tree, drove through a fence, and struck a second tree before stopping against a third tree. 

The preliminary fatal crash summary said Moore was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced deceased at the scene. 

The second accident occurred Sunday afternoon in Strawberry when a vehicle traveling east on State Highway 230 crossed the centerline and ran off the roadway before overturning twice, according to the state police. 

The preliminary fatal crash summary for that accident said one minor passenger was killed while another was injured along with two adults. The injured were transported to area hospitals. 

Both fatal crash summaries report the weather was clear and the roads dry at the time of both accidents.


Get up-to-date local and regional news along with the latest sports and weather every weekday morning by listening to Gary B. on Ozark Newsline, broadcast from the First Community Bank Newsroom on Arkansas 103.3. White River Now updates are also aired weekday mornings on 93 KZLEOutlaw 106.5, and Your FM 99.5. Have a news tip or event to promote? Email White River Now at news@whiterivernow.com. Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Add don’t forget to download the White River Now mobile app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

Independence County District Court sues County Judge in hiring dispute

The Independence County District Court is suing County Judge Robert Griffin in circuit court for denying the hiring of a district court deputy clerk. (Click here for more information on this story.)

After approval of the budget of the Independence County District Court by the county’s budget committee and the full quorum court, County Attorney Daniel Haney said his research shows the county is not the entity to approve a hiring by the district court — the City of Batesville is.

District Judge Chaney Taylor says that is erroneous, and so is Judge Griffin’s court order denying the hiring and citing the county attorney’s research and opinion.

The district court, under Judge Taylor, is asking the Independence County Circuit Court to declare Griffin’s court order unlawful and that the district court is not required to petition the Batesville City Council in order to hire a replacement district court deputy clerk. The petition also asks for district court costs.

Griffin has 30 days to answer the complaint in writing.


Get up-to-date local and regional news along with the latest sports and weather every weekday morning by listening to Gary B. on Ozark Newsline, broadcast from the First Community Bank Newsroom on Arkansas 103.3. White River Now updates are also aired weekday mornings on 93 KZLEOutlaw 106.5, and Your FM 99.5. Have a news tip or event to promote? Email White River Now at news@whiterivernow.com. Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Add don’t forget to download the White River Now mobile app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

Obituary: Lois Jernigan

Lois Rasmussen Jernigan, age 81, of Batesville died April 11, 2021, in Batesville. Born July 13, 1939, at Sidney, she was the daughter of the late Richard and Medrith Slade.

Lois retired from The Citizens Bank of Batesville in March 2005 as a Senior Vice President after 38 years of service. She enjoyed being with family and friends. She also loved working in the yard and taking walks with her husband.

Lois was a Christian. She attended Cornerstone Community Church in Cushman, Arkansas.

Lois is survived by her husband, Aubrey (Bert) Jernigan of the home; two daughters, Sheryl Thompson (Curt) of Batesville and Dana Porte (Noel) of Largo, Florida; two stepsons, Scott Jernigan and Darrick Jernigan of Phoenix, Arizona; two grandsons, Jonathon Thompson (Traci) and Austin Porte; one granddaughter, Sara Porte; 2 step-grandsons, Keith Jernigan (Sara) and Cory Jernigan (Savanah); one great-granddaughter, Emilia Thompson; one brother, Royce Slade of Sidney; and a host of relatives and friends.

She was preceded in death by her first husband of 48 years, Gerald Rasmussen, and one infant grandson.

Graveside services will begin at 10:00 a.m. Friday, April 16, 2021, at Oaklawn Cemetery under the direction of Roller-Crouch Funeral Home with Pastor Leonard Tharp officiating.

Memorials may be made to Cornerstone Community Church, P.O. Box 119, Cushman, AR 72526, or the charity of your choice.

Obituary: Billy Gene Hall, Sr.

Billy Gene Hall Sr., 81, of Newport departed this life Thursday, April 8, 2021.  He was born March 7, 1940, to William and Gladys (Pasley) Hall.

He served in the United States Army and was the owner/operator of Hall Trucking Company.  He was a member of Glenn Street Church of Christ.  He enjoyed riding horses and was a member of the Round-Up Club.  He also enjoyed riding motorcycles and playing pool in his younger years.

He is preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Earl Dean Pollard, Burnam Hall, Mack Hall; sisters, Jo Hubbard and Brenda Hall.

He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Jenenda Hall of Newport; son, Billy Gene Hall Jr. of Newport; grandchildren, Cheyenne Hall of Conway and Amanda Johnson of Conway; great-grandchildren, Kaden Simnit of Conway and Ryder Johnson of Conway; and several nieces and nephews.

Service will be 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, April 13, 2021, at Dillinger Funeral Home, with Tom Tacket and James DuVall officiating. Friends may visit the funeral home from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Obituary: Vance Lavon Boutwell

Vance Lavon Boutwell, 68, of Locust Grove, departed this life on Friday, April 9, 2021, in Cave City.

He was born on Sept. 23, 1952, in Batesville to Everett Lavon “Pete” Boutwell and Sarah Angele Drake Boutwell.

During his working years, he was a truck driver.  He also worked in maintenance, welding, and enjoyed messing with anything with a motor, and in his younger years owned several muscle cars.

Vance is survived by his son, Kiley Lavon Boutwell and his wife, Amanda, of Locust Grove; daughter, Brittany Harmon of Batesville; a brother, Keith Boutwell, of Locust Grove; his sister, Becca Hobbs of Hot Springs; three grandchildren, Kenley Grace Boutwell, Myra Lynn Boutwell, and Sarah Jane Boutwell.

He is preceded in death by his parents.

A Graveside Service will be Wednesday, April 14, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. in Locust Grove Cemetery with Bro. Larry Sellers officiating.   A time of visitation will begin at 1:30 until service time at the cemetery.

Oxford man faces additional charges involving indecency with a child

An Oxford, Ark. was taken into custody April 7 on additional charges of alleged sex crimes involving minors.

In a press release, Izard County’s Chief Deputy Sheriff Charley Melton says Brandon Gilbert, 40, who was previously accused of soliciting sex from minors, is now facing two counts of internet stalking of a child — a Class Y felony. Other charges Gilbert faces: two counts of sexual indecency with a child, two Class B felonies of internet stalking of a child, and two counts of sexual assault in the fourth degree. All of the charges are felonies.

Melton said the investigation into Gilbert’s activities began March 11 when investigators received a complaint from three male juveniles. According to the release, the three said Gilbert had contacted them via Snapchat and cell phone texts and allegedly offered them alcoholic beverages while soliciting sexual acts from them. Melton said the four victims were interviewed between March 11 and March 18.

Gilbert’s bond has been set at $40,000.


Get up-to-date local and regional news along with the latest sports and weather every weekday morning by listening to Gary B. on Ozark Newsline, broadcast from the First Community Bank Newsroom on Arkansas 103.3. White River Now updates are also aired weekday mornings on 93 KZLEOutlaw 106.5, and Your FM 99.5. Have a news tip or event to promote? Email White River Now at news@whiterivernow.com. Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Add don’t forget to download the White River Now mobile app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

COVID-19 vaccination clinics planned this week for Independence, Jackson counties

Community COVID-19 vaccination clinics are planned this week for the Independence County Health Unit and the Jackson County Health Unit, according to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH).

The Independence County clinic is planned for Wednesday, April 14, at the Independence County Health Unit, located at 120 Weaver Ave. in Batesville while the Jackson County clinic is planned for Thursday, April 15, at the Jackson County Health Unit, located at 1505 N. Pecan in Newport.

The clinics will begin at 8:30 a.m. and go until 3:30 p.m. or while supplies last. Vaccinations will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Doses will be available to those who are currently eligible to receive a vaccine in Arkansas, which includes Arkansans aged 16 and older. However, the ADH notes these clinics will administer only the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, so these clinics will only be able to provide vaccinations to those 18 years and older. Those who are 16-17 years old are advised to only receive the Pfizer vaccine at this time, the ADH says.

There is no out-of-pocket expense for the vaccine. People should bring their insurance cards if they have one. If they do not have insurance, the vaccine will still be available at no charge.

The three authorized COVID-19 vaccines have each undergone rigorous reviews that have proven them to be both safe and effective. Learn more about the vaccines and ADH vaccination plan at healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/covid-19-vaccination-plan.


Get up-to-date local and regional news along with the latest sports and weather every weekday morning by listening to Gary B. on Ozark Newsline, broadcast from the First Community Bank Newsroom on Arkansas 103.3. White River Now updates are also aired weekday mornings on 93 KZLEOutlaw 106.5, and Your FM 99.5. Have a news tip or event to promote? Email White River Now at news@whiterivernow.com. Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Add don’t forget to download the White River Now mobile app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

Jonesboro man killed, two injured after head-on collision in Cave City

One person was killed and two others injured in a two-car, head-on collision on North Main Street in Cave City Friday afternoon.

The investigating officer, Sgt. Trent Milligan of the Cave City Police Department, said the victim, Brian Day, 67, of Jonesboro, was the driver of a Mitsubishi Endeavor traveling north on Main Street. Milligan said the Mitsubishi crossed the centerline and collided head-on with a Toyota Corolla.

A passenger in the Corolla, Sarah Estes, 45, was injured, as was a passenger in the Mitsubishi, Debra Day, 57, of Cherokee Village.

Milligan said the injured were taken to UAMS in Little Rock. He said the weather was clear and the roadway dry at the time of the accident.


Get up-to-date local and regional news along with the latest sports and weather every weekday morning by listening to Gary B. on Ozark Newsline, broadcast from the First Community Bank Newsroom on Arkansas 103.3. White River Now updates are also aired weekday mornings on 93 KZLEOutlaw 106.5, and Your FM 99.5. Have a news tip or event to promote? Email White River Now at news@whiterivernow.com. Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Add don’t forget to download the White River Now mobile app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

More eruptions of La Soufrière volcano anticipated on Caribbean island of St. Vincent

Conditions worsened at a volcano on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent on Sunday, as residents experienced loud rumbling, lightning and heavy ashfall. The eruption of La Soufrière forced many residents to evacuate their homes, though some remained in place. The rumbling was heard in the capital of Kingstown, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) south.

About 16,000 people have fled, however there have been no reports of anyone being killed or injured. Ralph Gonsalves, the prime minister of the 32 islands that make up the country of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, has said people should remain calm and remain vigilant in protecting themselves from the coronavirus. He said officials were trying to figure out the best way to collect and dispose of the ash, which covered an airport runway near Kingstown, and fell as far away as Barbados, about 120 miles (190 kilometers) to the east.

About 3,200 people took refuge at 78 government-run shelters, and four empty cruise ships stood ready to take other evacuees to nearby islands, with a group of more than 130 already taken to St. Lucia.  Nearby nations, including Antigua and Grenada, also offered to take in evacuees. Those staying at the shelters were tested for COVID-19, with anyone testing positive being taken to an isolation center.

Ash-covered St. Vincent braces for more volcanic eruptions

Via www.nbcnews.com
 

Hotel standoff in Honolulu ends after gunman dies by suicide

A standoff between Honolulu police and an armed man at a luxury resort ended when the man was found dead from suicide. The gunman, who had fired shots through the door of his fourth-floor room, was found dead after a SWAT team entered his room at The Kahala Hotel & Resort about 3:30 a.m. Sunday. Police didn’t release further information, including the man’s name. Authorities have also not released any details about the events leading up to the stand-off, but reports say that police believe the man is in the military.

Shots were fired at around 6 p.m., according to police. Hotel security staff went up to the room where the man was located and knocked on the door. He then fired through the door multiple times, police said. The luxury resort said in a statement that hotel security and law enforcement evacuated the area around the room.

Photos and videos shared by local media showed about 100 people locked down in the hotel’s ballroom and displaced guests were provided with food, blankets and pillows. Hours after the standoff began, guests sheltering in place were allowed to leave. Images from outside the resort showed a large police presence, including a SWAT team.

Hotel gunman dead from self-inflicted gunshot wound: Police

Via abcnews.go.com
 

Editorial credit: Phillip B. Espinasse / Shutterstock.com