Police: Arkansas teen plowed into cemetery while driving under the influence of drugs

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BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. — A teenager in Blytheville, Arkansas is facing a long list of charges after a series of car crashes. Police say the young man plowed through a cemetery after a hit and run accident.

That accident happened Monday afternoon at the intersection of North Division and West Highway 18. Investigators say the 17-year-old ran a red light and turned into oncoming traffic before hitting Willie Westmoreland’s vehicle head on. 

 “He just boom! And then he backed up and I thought he was going to get out and look at the damage,” Westmoreland said.

But police say he just kept going down North Division where he hopped a curb and plowed through the cemetery. Investigators say the collision was so violent the engine from his Toyota Camry flew out of the car.  

The cemetery says 37 gravesites were damaged including 17 headstones and some of the gravesites were damaged by battery acid and oil that leaked from the vehicle.

Police believe the teen was on drugs when he got behind the wheel. He was checked out at the hospital, but investigators haven’t said how badly he was hurt. Westmoreland says he’s knees are sore but none of his bones were broken.

The teen is charged with reckless driving, driving under the influence of drugs and leaving the scene of an accident.

Police say these are the third and fourth crashes he’s been involved in since August. They haven’t said if they believe drugs or alcohol were factors in the others, and after previous wrecks and pending charges, it’s unclear if he was still eligible to drive.

“I don’t hold no grudges against him and I hope he get better and after this kind of straighten his life up,” Westmoreland said.

Westmoreland’s wife Rosie feels bad for all those families with damaged graves.

“Those tombstones are not cheap,” she said.

After four accidents, WREG is still trying to determine if the teen has a license to drive. According to the cemetery’s owner, the teen’s mother is working with their insurance company to compensate the families with damaged graves.

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