About 4:15 a.m. on Monday, July 14, 1986, an intercity bus operated by Trailways Lines, Inc. was traveling eastbound on 1-40 near Brinkley, Arkansas when It collided with the left rear of a tractor-semitrailer combination operated by Rising Fast Trucking Company, Inc. (RFT). At the time of the collision the RFT vehicle was making a U-turn which resulted In the RFT semitrailer's blocking both eastbound traffic lanes at a highway crossover from the eastbound to the westbound lanes of I-40 at milepost 210.4 near Brinkley, Arkansas. At the time of the collision the bus was transporting 28 passengers from Little Rock, Arkansas, to Memphis, Tennessee, on a leg of a regularly-scheduled run. One passenger reported that the busdriver screamed, "Hang on!" just before the collision.
The force of the collision caused the RFT semitrailer to rotate In a counterclockwise direction, and it came to rest In the highway median. The RFT semitrailer did not separate from its truck-tractor and came to rest In the highway crossover facing northwest with the front of the tractor partially blocking the inside lane of westbound 1-40.
After the collision the bus continued in a southeasterly direction, left the pavement of the eastbound roadway, overturned 90o to the left, and came to rest on its left side on a grassy slope facing south with the rear of the bus about 17 feet south of the edge of the eastbound shoulder of the roadway.The weather, was clear, it was dark with no artificial highway lighting at the site, and the pavement was dry. The vehicles did not catch fire.