Woman dies of in­juries

The Times (Northeast Benton County) - - FRONT PAGE - ANNETTE BEARD abeard@nwadg.com

A Mis­souri woman died Sun­day as the re­sult of in­juries she re­ceived in a head-on col­li­sion Thurs­day af­ter­noon north of Pea Ridge, ac­cord­ing to Arkansas State Po­lice.

Am­ber Ruthellen Epling, 30, of Wash­burn, Mo., was taken by he­li­copter am­bu­lance to Wash­ing­ton Re­gional Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Fayet­teville, af­ter Pea Ridge Fire-EMS De­part­ment per­son­nel worked for nearly an hour to free her from the crushed Mazda.

The col­li­sion hap­pened around 1:30 p.m. Thurs­day north­west of Pea Ridge on Arkansas High­way 94, ac­cord­ing to an Arkansas State Po­lice re­port. The red 2006 Dodge Ram pickup truck was north bound on Arkansas 94 when it veered into the op­pos­ing lane and crashed head-on into the blue 2014 Mazda, state po­lice said.

Epling, 30, of Wash­burn, Mo., was hos­pi­tal­ized and died from her in­juries on Sun­day, po­lice said.

The Dodge’s driver, 27-year-old Ken­neth Cross of Pineville, Mo., was treated at a lo­cal hos­pi­tal then booked into the Ben­ton County Jail by Arkansas State Po­lice. He was ini­tially charged with felony sec­ond-de­gree bat­tery. That charge was up­graded to neg­li­gent homi­cide af­ter Epling died. Cross was also charged with DWI, care­less driv­ing, driv­ing left of cen­ter, reck­less driv­ing and no driver’s li­cense. He was still in­car­cer­ated Mon­day in lieu of a $75,000 bond.

Con­di­tions were re­ported as clear and dry at the time.

TIMES pho­to­graph by Annette Beard

Jim Er­win with Meek’s Tow­ing looks over the two ve­hi­cles he picked up af­ter a col­li­sion Thurs­day.


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