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State Police: 5 killed, 3 kids hurt in crash

A head-on collision killed five people, including two young brothers, and injured three other children in western Arkansas after a car crossed into oncoming traffic, authorities said Monday.
Student memorial for Jesse Meriweather
Student memorial for Jesse Meriweather
Student memorial for Robert Meriweather
Student memorial for Robert Meriweather
CENTERVILLE, Ark. (AP) - A head-on collision killed five people, including two young brothers, and injured three other children in western Arkansas after a car crossed into oncoming traffic, authorities said Monday.

Arkansas State Police said a car driven by 28-year-old Joey Nichols crossed the center line of Arkansas Highway 7 near Centerville on Sunday afternoon before striking a car driven by Clara Meriweather, who had five children in her vehicle. Road conditions were dry and the weather was clear at the time of the crash, according to the police accident report.

Meriweather, 56, was pronounced dead at the scene, along with 13-year-old Jesse Meriweather and Nichols' passenger, 24-year-old Jessica Nichols. Joey Nichols later died at a hospital, as did 12-year-old Robert Meriweather, police said.

Three other children in Meriweather's vehicle were injured but in good condition Monday morning at Arkansas Children's Hospital, hospital officials said. Their names haven't been released.

Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler declined to release other details about the crash or the relationships of the victims, citing the ongoing investigation.

The two Meriweather boys who died were brothers and attended Jessieville Middle School, principal Janis Bremer said. Bremer said she didn't know how they were related to the three children injured in the crash.

Grief counselors were at the school Monday. Jesse was in 7th grade and Robert was in 6th grade, and both boys were good students, Bremer said. She said Robert was part of the school's gifted and talented program.

"They were outstanding young men," Bremer said.

The other three boys who were hurt in the collision went to school in Plainview, which is more than 30 miles north of Jessieville, elementary school principal David Minnie said. It wasn't clear whether they were related.

"Our prayers are with them and go out to them and their families," Minnie said.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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