Store personnel deserve kudos for response to wrecks
Thank you to reporter Bill Bowden for his Jan. 2 article addressing the issue of runaway trucks on Highway 43 through Ponca in Newton County. Truckers routed by GPS are unaware of the steepness of the road. They lose their brakes down the mountain and come through town at a high rate of speed or, in seven cases, lost control and crashed.
I want to add some information to his coverage on the after-effects of these crashes. Three trucks overturned in the exact same spot, most recently on Nov. 9 and Dec. 22, all in the ditch across from the Lost Valley Canoe and Lodging Store right in Ponca. Their staff deserves recognition for providing immediate medical attention to the drivers’ injuries, traffic control due to downed power lines across the highway, contacting emergency personnel and county work crews.
Their business has been the only one to experience any property damage and financial loss from these accidents while the rest of us only lost power for a few hours. In addition, they had to manage the cleanup and repairs each time of their own property. Kris Jorgenson, owner, has been a persistent lone voice with the state highway department requesting appropriate road signage for truckers since the worst crash four years ago. From Mr. Bowden’s article, it sounds like signs may finally be on the way but it is unfortunate it took two crashes within five weeks to get the department’s attention.
My business is next to Lost Valley’s and I have witnessed one of the accidents as well as trucks barreling through town with brakes smoking on a regular basis. I thank the staff at Lost Valley Store for being proactive about the safety of our community as well as all the visitors to the Buffalo National River.