State trooper safe after alleged tractor-trailer hit and run

State

An Arkansas State Police trooper is safe after a wreck involving a tractor-trailer on westbound Interstate 40 west of Lonoke Wednesday.

Police say that 54-year-old Joe A. Barbosa of San Antonio, Texas, hit an Arkansas State Police trooper’s patrol vehicle and left the scene at around 9:00 a.m.

According to police, Sgt. Chuck Lewis was warning motorists on I-40 of congested traffic ahead as there had been a vehicle crash with no injuries. Traffic approaching the area was moving at around 50 to 60 miles per hour across ice cover traffic lanes, police say.

Barbosa lost control of his tractor-trailer as he approached the area, police say, and as he began to brake, the trailer jackknifed and hit the rear of Lewis’ patrol vehicle. The State Police cruiser spun into a tree line north of I-40.

When Barbosa regained control of the truck and trailer, police say he left the scene. However, he was later apprehended in the North Little Rock area and charged with careless and prohibited driving and leaving the scene of a property damage crash.

Neither Barbosa nor Lewis, a 25-year veteran of the State Police, were injured in the crash. The initial crash that occurred before 9:00 a.m. and the incident involving Lewis caused a slow chain of reaction that stretched more than 30 miles.

State Police are reminding motorists to reduce their speed when driving in the current weather conditions and to use double or triple the usual safe distance when following another vehicle. Motorists should use gentle brake control when stopping their vehicles.

Anyone involved in a crash should move the vehicle off the highway. Police ask individuals who need to exit their vehicles to stay as far away from the roadway as possible.