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This story appeared in the:

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

cousin BillyRay Wallis

cuzin BillyRay Wallis

Two local men were seriously injured when their pickup truck left the road and hit a tree near Cotton Plant on State Highway 38 early Monday morning.

Thurston Poole, 33, of Des Arc, and Billy Ray Wallis, 38 of Little Rock, are listed in serious condition at Baptist Medical Center. The accident occurred as the two men were returning to Des Arc after a frog-gigging trip.

On an overcast Sunday night, Poole's pickup truck headlights malfunctioned. The two men concluded that the headlight fuse on the older-model truck had burned out. As a replacement was not available, Wallis noticed that the .22 caliber bullet from his pistol fit perfectly into the fuse box next to the steering column. Upon inserting the bullet, the headlights again began to operate, and the two men proceeded on eastbound toward the White River Bridge.

After traveling approximately 20 miles and just before crossing the river, the bullet apparently overheated, discharged and struck Poole in the right testicle. The vehicle swerved sharply to the right, exiting the pavement and striking the tree. Poole suffered only minor cuts and abrasions from the accident, but will require surgery to repair the other wound. Wallis sustained a broken clavicle and was treated and released.

"Thank God we weren't on that bridge when Thurston shot his nuts off or we might have been dead,"said (Billy Ray) Wallis.

"I've been a trooper for 10 years in this part of the world," said Deputy Snyder, "but this is a first for me. I can't believe that those two would admit how the accident happened."

Upon being notified of the wreck, Lavinia, Poole's wife, asked how many frogs the boys had caught, "and did anyone think to get them from the truck."


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