WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — A retired veteran forged a special connection with West Memphis Police officers after getting into a serious bridge-related accident.
The I-40 bridge closure continues to back up traffic between Arkansas and Tennessee, and GPS devices and map apps have started to adjust. A retired veteran driving across the country was re-routed away from the bridge traffic and was barely a mile down the road into his new route when disaster struck.
“A 200-pound deer jumped out in front of his vehicle, causing airbags to deploy and the vehicle to become disabled,” said Tawanna Bailey, West Memphis Community outreach coordinator. “So, he called 911.”
West Memphis Police officers responded, helping to move the vet and his car to safety. One day later, the vet reached out to the department, thanking them for an experience he’ll never forget.
“He said that they actually provided him with a professional sense of humor to get through the whole ordeal for him and his family,” Bailey said.
West Memphis continues to experience crippling consequences of the bridge closure. Officials have revealed sales tax revenue has plummeted since the bridge closure occurred, while traffic continues to pile up.
“I try to tell the people of West Memphis, please be patient. We’re in this together,” said West Memphis mayor Marco McClendon. “I’m very, very frustrated.”
But for at least one day, West Memphis Police were able to minimize one veteran’s bridge-related experience.
“Our goal is just to bridge the gap between law enforcement and citizens,” Bailey said.
West Memphis just named a new police chief earlier this month, former Shelby County Sheriff’s Officer Michael Pope. Pope has said one of his priorities is improving community relations.