CLINTON, Ark. (AP) — A blown tire caused a logging truck to lose control and spill its cargo onto a group of construction workers, killing two and injuring 19, state police said Tuesday.
The wreck occurred Monday afternoon on U.S. Highway 65 in Clinton, where workers were widening a bridge in the north-central Arkansas city about 70 miles north of Little Rock.
A preliminary state police report said a left rear tire on the southbound big rig's trailer blew out and then its load shifted, sending the logs tumbling into the roadway and work zone.
State police spokesman Bill Sadler told The Associated Press that the investigation was continuing and could take more than a month to complete, depending on how much testing has to be done at the Arkansas Crime Laboratory.
The two people who died were identified Tuesday by state police as Ricardo Trochez, 40, of Atkins, and Hubert Keith Moore, 51, of Chester. Moore was pronounced dead at the scene, and Trochez died at Ozark Health Medical Center in Clinton.
The driver of the logging truck, Jerry Hickman, 39, of Bee Branch, suffered minor injuries. It was not clear whether he had been cited for the crash.
Nineteen people were taken to the hospital in Clinton, officials said. Ozark Health Medical Center administrator David Deaton told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that 12 of those patients suffered "major injuries." Deaton didn't return a phone message from the AP seeking comment Tuesday.
Authorities said between 30 and 40 workers were on the bridge when the logs spilled.
The bridge widening on the busy north-south highway was being performed by Mobley Contractors Inc. of Morrilton. Robert Mobley, owner and president of Mobley Contractors, didn't return a message from the AP seeking comment.