Leader Blues

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

TOP STORY >>Highway death stuns family

BY HEATHER HARTSELL AND SARA GREENE
Leader staff writers

After getting a flat around 6 a.m. Monday, Christopher Dale Copeland, 25, of Cabot was walking north on John Harden Drive between Jacksonville and Cabot when Christopher Halsdorf Sr. of Rose Bud struck Copeland. Copeland’s body lodged on Halsdorf’s vehicle.

Lt. Steve Finch of the Lonoke County Sheriff’s Department says Halsdorf panicked and tried to drive to the Exxon Station on Hwy. 5 for help. Unable to get across traffic, Halsdorf drove to a Valero gas station on A.J. Patton Road. Finch says a mile away from the Valero gas station Copeland’s body dislodged and was dragged about a mile.

“The body through the windshield (rumor) is bogus,” Finch said. Rumors that Halsdorf was drunk at the time of the accident are also untrue, Finch said. Wilma Pierce, a family member, says Copeland was flown to Baptist Medical Center in Little Rock and admitted with a crushed skull and massive internal injuries. He was put on life support Monday and died Tuesday.

“The family is very traumatized and this is not a good time for them due to the circumstances surrounding his death,” Pierce said. Finch is asking any witnesses to the accident to come forward. “I’ll listen to anyone with information,” Finch said.

Copeland’s accident was the second pedestrian death in Lonoke County in as many years. Last year, Jared Mitchel Petrizzo, 15, of Cabot, was walking near White Lane in Lonoke County when he was struck and killed by a truck passing another vehicle. No charges were filed against the driver, Robert Shayne Andrews, 19, of Lonoke. Copeland was employed as a forklift operator for Ace Hardware Distribution in Little Rock. Survivors include his wife, Tiffany of the home; two children, Joshua and Trinity Copeland; father, Roger Copeland of Jacksonville; two brothers, Harold Copeland of Cabot, Jimmy Copeland of Jacksonville; grandmother, Juanita Copeland of Jacksonville; mother-in-law and father-in-law, Cindya and Keith Phillips of Lonoke.

Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Saturday at Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Chapel with Rev. Allen Copeland officiating. Burial will follow at Chapel Hill Memorial Park. Sherry Hall, Leader staff writer contributed to this article.