A prosecutor said a Mississippi trucker was driving under the influence of crack cocaine when his big rig crossed the center line and collided with a car, killing a mother and her four young children, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported today, July 17.
Accoring to the newspaper, Roy Lee Jordan, 57, of Benton, Miss., told Arkansas State Police investigators that he used crack cocaine within six hours of the accident Saturday, July 14, on U.S. 425 south of Pine Bluff, Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Kyle Hunter said.
Judge Jodi Dennis, presiding in Jefferson County Circuit Court, ordered Jordan held on five counts of negligent homicide in the deaths of LaKetria Wells, 26, and her four children, all of Monticello, the Democrat-Gazette reported; Dennis set bail at $100,000, and Jordan is scheduled back in court on July 30. Negligent homicide is a Class 3 felony punishable by three to 10 years in prison, according to the newspaper.
Jordan was stopped for speeding in Hamburg before the fatal accident, the Associated Press reported; further information about that traffic stop wasn’t available. State police found a crack pipe in the cab of the defendant’s truck after the accident, the news organization quoted Hunter as saying at Monday’s probable cause hearing; Hunter also said prosecutors were waiting on drug-test results and a completed investigation.
Riding in the front seat with the mother was her oldest child, LaKiyah Wells, 7. In the back were brothers Keyshon Wells, 4, and Kaleb Jarrell Stokes, 5, and sister LaKayla Wells, 2. State Trooper Oscar Bullard Jr. told the Democrat-Gazette that the impact from the head-on collision left little of the car.
Jordan had been driving for Vaughan, Miss.-based 3 J Trucking Co. for about three months before the accident, the Democrat-Gazette reported; he was taken to Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Pine Bluff for treatment of minor injuries. Jordan was released from the hospital to state police investigators, who interviewed him before taking him to the Jefferson County jail, Bullard told the newspaper.