Trucker listed as missing after rig found on Memphis bridge

| 2/26/2003

Memphis police are looking for a trucker who disappeared Sunday evening after saying her current run would be her last trip and after police found her truck on a bridge with the passenger door open.

The rig operated by Christine E. Wordlow of Romance, AR, was found Sunday in the eastbound lanes of the I-40 bridge over the Mississippi River between Memphis, TN, and West Memphis, AR, local police officials told Land Line.

Wordlow, who drives for CR England Trucking of Salt Lake City, was last seen Saturday in West Memphis at the Williams truckstop, Mike Allen of the West Memphis Police said. Her rig had been involved in a minor accident. She had just parked the vehicle at the truckstop when another rig, which was backing up, collided with hers.

The police officers who worked the accident described her as pleasant. Soon after she gave information to them for a report, she headed east across the Hernando DeSoto Bridge, which carries the interstate over the Mississippi.

The next day, Sunday, Feb. 23, her truck was found on the Memphis end of the bridge. Her keys were in the ignition, police said, and the passenger side door of the truck was left open.

“We have her listed as a missing person,” LaTonya Able, a spokeswoman for the Memphis Police, said. “And we do suspect it may be a possible suicide. … We’re still investigating it.”

Because of the possibility that Wordlow might have jumped into the river, the Memphis Police have alerted the Coast Guard, which is checking the river for her. In addition, helicopters and barges are keeping watch along the river, and the driver’s information has been entered into the National Crime Information Computer system and given to local media outlets.

Edrick Williams, the West Memphis officer who worked the accident Saturday night involving Wordlow, told WREG television that the driver did not seem distraught. He isn't convinced she'd put herself in danger.

"It shocked me,” he said. “She was pleasant."

However, Allen of the West Memphis department said initial reports indicated that she might have been taking some type of medication for depression. In addition, she had reportedly said that her current run would be her last trip as a trucker for the company.

Wordlow is described as an African-American woman, 43 years old. The resident of Romance, Ark., is described as 5-foot-9 and 215 pounds, with braid extensions in her hair.

Anyone who has information about Christine E. Wordlow should contact the 24-hour Crime Stoppers number at (901) 528-CASH. In addition, they can call the Memphis Missing Persons Bureau at (901) 373-3883, or the city’s homicide division at (901) 545-5300.

--by Mark H. Reddig, associate editor