Fire Chief Responds to Fatal Crash, Learns His Son Was Victim

Bowen Xiao
By Bowen Xiao
January 26, 2018USshare
Fire Chief Responds to Fatal Crash, Learns His Son Was Victim
(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A fatal highway crash involving two vehicles took place in Baxter County, Arkansas.

The incident sounded so serious that Mike Stephen, chief of the Pineville Volunteer Fire Department, felt he should go to the scene.

“I called my lieutenant and said I feel like I need to go to this, it sounds like a bad accident,” Stephen told CBS affiliate WSPA.

But nothing could prepare him for what was to come on Monday, Jan. 22.

“They toned it out, and I heard it,” he told WSPA. Stephen also works as a deputy for the sheriff’s office in neighboring Stone County.

Just moments after arriving at Highway 177, Stephen found out that a person had died in the crash.

That victim was his 25-year-old son, Joe Stephen.

“There was a ball of officers and we just all kneeled down and prayed,” Stephen told the network.

Joe was on his way home to check on his pregnant girlfriend. Their baby son, Ryker, was expected to be born the following Monday, just one week after the crash.

A total of eight family members attended the scene after learning the news. They all served in various first emergency response roles, according to WSPA.


According to the Daily Mail, Joe’s Honda Accord was heading north along the highway before it somehow crossed the center line and crashed into a Chevrolet Tahoe coming the other way.

Two other victims in the crash were seriously hurt. Details of their current condition’s were not immediately available.

Mike said his son had also spent some time as a firefighter in Pineville.

As of the time of this publication, it’s still not clear what caused him to veer into the other side of the road.

Mike speaking of his son’s relationship said: “They were so happy.”

As a tribute, the fire chief posted a photo of himself with his son on Facebook.


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