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Vehicle crashes into utility truck with worker; witnesses say driver asleep at the wheel

“Asleep at the wheel!”

That’s what witnesses reported to authorities at the Exxon station atop Ramsey Mountain Friday afternoon, May 17. Upon arrival, deputy Jason Cole with the Independence County Sheriff’s Department reported finding a green Ford Escort station wagon driven by Cody Heddey (pictured, left), 29, of Cave City had just struck another vehicle at the station.

The Batesville Police Department had earlier been notified of a Ford Escort matching the same description sitting at the St. Louis and Harrison Streets intersection with the driver passed out.

The vehicle struck by the Escort at the Exxon was a 2007 Ford truck owned by Magness Oil of Gassville, Ark., according to the incident report. The truck had a lift bucket from which Timothy Armstrong was painting a canvas on the gas station. Armstrong told authorities he felt a big jerk, causing him to hit his head on the area he was painting and injure his neck and lower back.

Another witness was painting the gas pumps when he heard the impact, telling Cole the driver appeared to be asleep at the wheel.

When questioned by Cole, the deputy reported Heddey’s eyes appeared to be dilated, bloodshot, and watery while his speech was noted as slurred. During a series of sobriety tests, Heddey had trouble keeping his balance and nearly fell several times, said Cole. He was placed under arrest for driving while impaired.

The passenger, Tina M. Barrett (pictured, right), was in the same condition as Heddey — eyes dilated, speech slurred, and poor balance, according to Cole. She was placed under arrest for public intoxication.

Heddey was issued a ticket for DWI — drugs and no proof of insurance while Barrett was cited for public intoxication.

A court date was set for June 12 for the two.

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