2016 deadly train wreck driver sentenced

Dana Keener
Staff Writer

Sara Rae Morris, 31, of Hot Springs, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with four suspended, on multiple charges, Tuesday, October 2, 2018. Morris pleaded no contest to one count of manslaughter, three counts of endangering the welfare of a minor, and one count of possession of a controlled substance.
All charges were a result of a motor vehicle accident that occurred on Sunday, March 6, 2016. Morris was the operator of a 2007 Chevrolet Trailblazer that collided with a Union Pacific train on Old Dixsonville Road in Hot Spring County.
Morris approached the railroad crossing and brought the vehicle to a complete stop. Then, according to data retained from the Trailblazer’s Airbag Control Module, and recorded video footage, Morris accelerated the vehicle to the center of the railroad track. The train then collided with the vehicle, pushing it 120 feet before it was forced off of the railroad track. The vehicle continued to move along the ditch that runs adjacent the railroad tracks. After traveling 135 feet, the vehicle finally stopped.
Passengers included two nine-year-old minors, a male and a female; one eight-year-old female minor, and a seven-year-old minor male who was pronounced dead at the scene. The seven-year-old male minor was seated in the front passenger seat while the other three minors were in the back passenger seat area. Morris was the only vehicle occupant who was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision.
Also at the scene, investigators collected approximately .2270 grams of a crystalline substance that tested positive for Methamphetimine, and approximately .37 grams of a green, leafy substance that was determined to be marijuana. A blood sample was obtained from Morris after her arrival at UAMS Medical Center, Little Rock. After analysis, it was positively determined that Morris had a combination of Oxycodone, Benzodiazepines, Cannabinoids, and Methamphetimine present at the time of crash.