State Police Say He Had a Blowout
POCAHONTAS, Ark. – A local man was involved in a tragic wreck that ended his life Saturday in Randolph County.
Randy Byrd, 59, of Pocahontas, died this morning. At 10:42, AM Saturday morning, June 8, 2019, Byrd was driving his 2005 Yamaha Motorcycle north on Highway 67 at South Fender Road. The roads were said to be dry but it was still a cloudy, humid day as rainfall threatened from above.
Byrd lost control of his vehicle and was thrown from it. Arkansas State Police’s initial narrative says his vehicle had a “blowout.” He was thrown from the vehicle and died.
Cpl. Nicholas Poulsen was the investigating officer with ASP who completed the report.
Byrd was the subject of an NEA Report exclusive article in 2018.
On Wednesday, March 14, 2018, Byrd was involved in an altercation with former Randolph County Circuit Judge Phil Smith that ended with Byrd in Randolph County Jail on a substantial $25,000 cash-only bond. It happened at Harp’s Grocery Store in Pocahontas. One source told NEA Report it began as a verbal altercation before escalating to a physical fight.
Byrd spoke to a reporter last year in a conversation that was never published due to lack of material for a follow-up story. He disputed reports he had started the fight.
Update: Byrd’s sister reached out to NEA Report and said he pleaded guilty earlier this year in this case because he wanted to avoid trial. She said he received probation, indicating a persuasive plea deal had been offered.
Smith is the ex-husband of former State Senator Linda Collins-Smith. She was found murdered on Tuesday.
(An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Pender Road, as written in the report by police. It is Fender Road.)