Accident claims life of Manila man

Monday, January 21, 2013

Stephen D. Rush, 36, of Manila was killed early Friday morning when his pick-up truck went off Highway 18, overturning into the waters of Big Lake.

Emergency squad from Mississippi County and Craighead County dive team worked together to get the submerged truck to shore.

The accident was reported by a driver of a FedEx truck, traveling west toward Jonesboro, who said the eastbound truck crossed into the west lane and then ran off the highway near the bridge. The witness called 911 at 5:38 a.m.

Agencies including Mississippi County Sheriff's Department, Arkansas State Police, Blytheville Emergency Squad, Manila Police Department, Leachville Police Department, several first responders, and Craighead County dive team responded working most of the day at the accident scene.

Mississippi County Sheriff Dale Cook remained at the scene throughout the day as emergency crews worked. Sheriff Cook said it was possible the driver could have lost control due to frost.

Craighead County dive team and Mississippi County emergency squad team work together to retrieve vehicle reported going into Big Lake Friday morning.

A Mississippi County deputy arrived on the scene immediately as he was close to the accident site when the 911 call came in.

After daylight deputies found tire tracks leading down an embankment into the water. The vehicle went off Highway 18 on the north side of the roadway, floated under the Big Lake Bridge and lodged under the water on the south side of the roadway near the dam.

Highway 18 was closed for several hours during the day while emergency crews worked the scene. Emergency workers found the submerged truck around 9 a.m. and worked for several hours trying to retrieve the truck in the swift water.

Craighead County dive team was called to the scene. A diver went into the water and attached a cable to the vehicle allowing the truck to be brought to the shoreline at about 2:30 p.m. Rush's body was retrieved from the vehicle and he was pronounced dead at the scene by Coroner Mike Godsey.

Rush was a former resident of Blytheville and Gosnell. He worked for Harsco Metals.

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