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Driver charged with murder in Jacksonville firefighter death | News

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Driver charged with murder in Jacksonville firefighter death
News

JACKSONVILLE, Ark. (KTHV) - Jacksonville police say they now believe a driver intentionally sped up and hit and killed a firefighter and injured two other emergency personnel Monday night in Jacksonville.

The Jacksonville Police Department and Jacksonville Fire Department responded to a single vehicle accident in the 8400 Block of Hwy 161 Monday night at around 10:30 p.m.

The vehicle had left the roadway and struck a gas main. A Jacksonville police officer and two Jacksonville firefighters were working the scene when a van left the roadway and struck all three.

One firefighter, Capt. Donald Jones was pronounced dead at the scene. The other firefighter, Jason Bowmaster was med-flighted to a Little Rock hospital while the police officer was transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital. Both are in critical condition at the time of this release.

Capt. Jones served with the Jacksonville Fire Dept. for 31 years. Firefighter Bowmaster had been with the department for 13 years.

Authorities say Jacksonville Police Officer Daniel DiMatteo is now in stable condition.

An investigation revealed that the driver of the vehicle made no attempt to brake and even accelerated prior to striking the emergency personnel.

The driver, Bryce Allen, has been charged with second degree murder, and two counts of second degree criminal attempt to commit murder. He is currently being booked in at the Jacksonville Police Department with no bond.

Bryce Allen is the son to Thelma Allen who was the driver of the vehicle that struck the gas main.

In a press release from Chief Vanderhoof of the Jacksonville Fire Dept. says:

"A Fire Chiefs worst nightmare is the loss of a Fellow Firefighter, that has been killed in the Line of Duty. Captain Donald Jones was killed in the Line of Duty while engaged in Firefighting activities on March 19,2012.

"He started his career with the Jacksonville Fire Department on December 24, 1980. He served for 31 years of dedicated service with the Jacksonville Fire Department.

"He will be missed by his family as well as his Firefighting Family. He will always be in our hearts and memories.

"Please pray for his family, his brother firefighter and police officer that were injured at the same time, and his other fellow firefighters."

THV's Jessica Duff is following up on this story and will have more on "Today's THV at 6:00" and todaysthv.com.

(Source: Jacksonville Police press release, Associated Press)

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