A Conway police officer lost control of his patrol car during a downpour Sunday night and spun into another vehicle, killing a pregnant Cabot woman.
According to witness reports, Officer Scott Carpenter, 32, was traveling west on Dave Ward Drive near American Transportation when his Chevrolet Impala patrol car hydroplaned and, according to one witness report, spun completely around three times before colliding head-on with an eastbound Ford Escort driven by Jerald Goodrum, 21, of North Little Rock.
Laser Dunlap, 20, a passenger in the Escort and Goodrum's fiancee, was taken to Conway Regional Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead at 9:16 p.m. She was four months pregnant. Goodrum and Carpenter were also taken to Conway Regional, where they were treated for minor injuries and released.
Lt. Chip Stokes, public information officer for the Conway Police Department, said the incident is being investigated by both the Conway Police and the Arkansas State Police. There was no indication from eight witness reports that the accident was caused because of reckless driving, Stokes said.
"None of them said anything about excessive speed, and that's something people usually notice," said Stokes.
The accident occurred at 8:30 p.m. during the height of the downpour that caused flash flooding in much of central Arkansas.
"The inclement weather and the road conditions definitely played a factor in the accident," said Stokes. "The conditions were absolutely horrible."
Carpenter, who was "shaken up" by the accident, was at home with his family, Stokes said.
"We're hoping he can return to work soon," Stokes said.
(Staff writer Robert Evatt can be reached by phone at 505-1236 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org)