Two fatalities, no charges

7OYS looks into a fatal wreck approaching its one year anniversary.


In six weeks a full year will have passed since a mother and her 18 month-old son died on a lonely stretch of road in Yell County.

No one has been charged in their deaths...and some say that is a crime.

The family of Heather walker says they never approved of her relationship with her fiance, the father of her two children, and the driver of the car that crashed on August 16th of last year.

Briggsville in Yell county is home to Mount Zion cemetery.

And Mount Zion cemetery is home to the Walker family plot.

And that is where you will find 19 year-old Heather Walker and 18 month-old Mitch Holt.

Where they are buried is only five miles away from the stretch of road where they died.

"I could tell when they hit the road...when they ran off the could tell by the way the ruts were in the mud and everything that they weren't going slow,” says James Walker of Casa, Heather’s older brother. “And then I could see where the truck was at and I'm assuming that when he tried to get it up on the road he jerked the wheel and when he did the truck lost traction and hit the shale embankment and flipped."

Surviving the accident was Mitch's little brother...the now nearly two year-old Bentley Holt...and the father of both boys...James Holt.

"I didn't like him from the get-go," says Carol Walker of Russellville, Heather’s mother.

Holt was 20 years old at the time of the wreck.

Heather's family never approved of their relationship.

"Not really a whole lot you can do when she don't want to listen," recalls Carol Walker.

"Oh I told her to leave James,” says Heather’s older sister Rachael Walker of Ola. “A lot. I told her you don't need it. You're so much better. I mean, there's so much better out there. She didn't want to listen to me."

Heather got pregnant in high school and dropped out. By 19 she had two kids. Life was moving fast.

Almost as fast as James liked to drive.

"He'd get mad and he would like…fly,” says Carol Walker. “And just acting stupid."

But Heather's family suspected another possible cause of the wreck.

"I had a feeling it had to do with drugs," says Carol Walker.

A private drug screen taken less than 10 days after the accident shows that James Holt tested positive for amphetamines, methamphetamine, oxycodone and marijuana.

Prosecutor Tom Tatum got blood test results taken the day of the wreck back from the state crime lab months ago.

Since early march our calls to Tatum's Dardanelle office have gone unreturned.

That doesn't surprise Carol Walker.

"Oh yeah and most of the time he is out of the office,” says Carol Walker. “Or the case is still pending. That's all I get."

We visited Tatum's office earlier this month and he did briefly discuss the case off camera.

He says Deputy Prosecutor Marcus Vaden is handling the case and working to determine how the level of drugs found in Holt's system may or may not have impaired his ability to drive.

One way or another, Tatum says a decision on the case will be made before the one-year anniversary of the wreck.

"Something has got to happen,” says Rachael Walker. “This is a baby and a mother we're talking about."

"Something is gonna happen but it might just take time,” says James Walker. “But it shouldn't have took this much amount of time."

"He needs to go to the pen,” argues Carol Walker. “Why should he have to walk this earth and my daughter can't? And her oldest baby? It's just not fair. It's not right."

As for James weeks after the crash that killed his fiance and son he was in a new relationship.

Our attempts to contact him resulted in one returned phone call that lasted about 20 seconds before he hung up.

If James Holt is going to be charged with a misdemeanor then such a charge must be filed by August 16th.

Air date: June 29th, 2017

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