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State police look into crash near prison

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Crash victims are warden, major at unit

Arkansas State Police investigators are trying to determine if alcohol was a factor in the Jan. 17 single vehicle wreck that injured Warden Brooks Parks, 50, and Major Jeffrey T. Dean, 37.

Both Parks and Dean work at the North Central Unit of the Arkansas Department of Corrections in Calico Rock.

According to the state police, Dean and Brooks were traveling southbound at approximately 8:30 p.m. on Highway 5 near the correctional facility when Dean crossed the center line.

Dean drove his 2003 Chevrolet truck into the northbound ditch, hitting two utility poles and three parked cars before coming to a stop in the yard of Donnie Speak.

The truck traveled over 100 feet after leaving the highway. Dean was ejected from the vehicle.

Speak, pastor at Glad Rock Chapel Church, said he was home when the wreck occurred.

"It was the most horrendous crash I've ever heard," said Speak. "One of my neighbors thought it was an earthquake."

Speak said Arkansas State Police Trooper First Class James N. Brown arrived at the scene immediately.

A report released by the Arkansas State Police stated the wreck occurred at 8:32 p.m.

According to a story published in the Baxter Bulletin Jan. 20 titled "Investigation into crash near prison continues," an ASP radio transmission log stated that Brown called at 8:48 p.m., 16 minutes after the wreck, to report he had just arrived at the accident scene.

Brown has not returned repeated phone calls.

Speak, 53, said he overheard Brown ask Dean and Parks why they were running from him. He said Brown told the two men he would have "only given them a speeding ticket."

The report released by the Arkansas State Police did not mention that Brown was in pursuit of Dean and Parks.

Speak said his daughter-in-law, Rachael Speak, tried to put a blanket over Dean while he awaited medical assistance.

"He (Dean) kept screaming, 'I'm F...ing drunk'" Speak said. "They both smelled like a brewery."

He said Brown never interviewed him or anyone who lived within proximity of the wreck.

"He (Brown) only asked me for my insurance information," Speak said.

Speak said his truck and his daughter's car were damaged by Dean's truck.

Dinah Tyler, a spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Corrections, said Dean suffered serious head and spinal injuries.

"He has made some progress this week, but he has a long way to go," Tyler said. "We hope and pray that he will recover."

Dean was transported from the scene by helicopter to St. John's Regional Medical Center in Springfield. He is listed in critical condition.

Brooks received only minor injuries in the crash. Tyler said Brooks is expected to return to work this week.

Charges are still pending against Dean.

Tyler said the Department of Corrections would not comment about whether Dean was intoxicated at the time of the wreck.

"The state police are conducting an investigation," Tyler said. "So far very little information has been released. When we receive their report we will take appropriate action if it is warranted."

Brooks and Dean, who both live near the facility, were not on duty when the wreck occurred, but both were on call, Tyler said.

According to the state police weather was not a factor in the wreck.



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