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Baxter County Patrol Vehicle



     A powerful storm swept through portions of Baxter County early this morning causing one death, several injuries, and abundant property damage.  Baxter County was placed under a tornado warning by the National Weather Service around 4:00 AM today, Sunday, May 26th. 

     The storm hit Baxter County shortly thereafter, and the Sheriff's Office began receiving multiple reports of damaged property and power lines and fallen trees blocking roadways and crashing down on homes and vehicles.  In addition to on-duty deputies, emergency responders from multiple agencies were quickly called out to begin responding to situations and provide help to those in need. 

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     Although the storm caused significant damage in several areas, there was a heavy concentration of damage and destruction in the Briarcliff-Salesville areas and the Hand Cove area.   A report was received from 32 Jones Lane off State Highway 5 South near Salesville that a 73 year old female was missing and could not be found after her mobile home was destroyed.  Emergency personnel, family members, and friends began searching the area to try and find the woman.  Unfortunately, when she was located at approximately 8:00 AM about 300 yards North of where the residence stood, she was found to be deceased.  The deceased was identified as Patricia Anne Sontag of the residence.

    Seventeen people in various areas of the county were injured as well, including six pediatric patients, and were treated by Baxter Health medical personnel.  One child was transferred to Children's Hospital in Little Rock.

     Work crews have been clearing roadways of fallen utility lines and downed trees all morning, and that work is continuing.  Motorists should continue to use caution when driving in and around the areas impacted, and people should be aware of the dangers of entering badly damaged buildings and structures. Deputies continue to be available to offer assistance as needed.

     The Baxter County Sheriff's Office would like to express its appreciation to all responding emergency service agencies and personnel.  These include the Arkansas State Police, Gassville Police Department, Cotter Police Department, Bull Shoals Police Department, Arkansas Highway Police, Baxter County Road and Bridge Department, Arkansas Department of Transportation, Baxter County Coroner's Office, all of the many volunteer fire departments in Baxter County and some from outside the county, the Izard County Sheriff's Office for temporarily handling calls for us South of Norfork, Office of Emergency Management personnel from Baxter, Izard, and Fulton Counties, and many civilian volunteers who offered their services. 

/s/ John F. Montgomery,
Baxter County Sheriff