Fatal motorcycle wreck late Tuesday; alcohol involved

JONESBORO, Ark. – A fatal wreck late Tuesday which claimed the life of the motorcycle driver seems to have been alcohol fueled, as a participant described.

At 10:23 p.m., Jonesboro police began hearing dispatch orders to Parker Road and West Washington Avenue, where a 2009 Kawasaki motorcycle was at the bottom of a steep embankment. As police arrived, a white male was lying next to the bike. It was the driver, Shawn Alan Mahan, 42, of Jonesboro. Emergency responders were giving him chest compressions.

Officer Nathan Coleman observed the wreckage and noted the bike appeared to have been traveling north on Parker Road when it went off the right side of the road onto the gravel. There was a gouge in the gravel where the bike first impacted and one of the mirrors was still lying near that spot. The bike continued north and a short distance away, the headlight and another mirror was found. As the bike traveled down the embankment, Mahan was thrown forward. 

Police made contact with a passenger on the bike who somehow suffered only minor injuries – Bethard Ray Arender, 43, of Cash. Immediately, Officer Paul Williams noticed Arender smelled of liquor. He also was slurring his speech. The officer asked if he and Mahan had been drinking and Arender reportedly said they were just having a good time. He specifically said Mahan had been drinking.

Mahan was transported to St. Bernard’s Medical Center by Emerson Ambulance Service. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Bethard, the passenger, was also taken to the hospital for minor injuries.

As officers tried to make sense of how this incident unfolded, a witness said the motorcycle duo had just left Walmart on Parker Road. When Officer Coleman accessed camera footage with the permission of Walmart’s manager, he noticed Mahan and Arender pull into the parking lot at about 9:16 p.m. As the bike parks, Arender falls off of the rear of the motorcycle. At 9:29 p.m., Mahan is seen riding a motorized cart out of the grocery doors and to his motorcycle. Mahan gets on the bike as the driver while Arender gets back on as a passenger.

Another motorcycle was present and Mahan’s is seen following it out of the lot.

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