OHP: Drunk Driver Crashes Into Muskogee Turnpike Toll Booth Injuring Attendant
MUSKOGEE COUNTY, Oklahoma - The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says a toll booth attendant was injured early Thursday when a drunk driver slammed his van into her booth on the Muskogee Turnpike just south of Muskogee.
Troopers said 55-year-old Don Miller is suspected of driving drunk when his van crashed into the tollbooth where an attendant was working.
"A big van came driving recklessly in an excessive speed through the toll gate, past the attenuators, flipped the concrete barrier - like the one you see here behind us - and a portion of that van struck the toll gate injuring the attendant who was doing nothing more than providing a service to the motorists," said OHP Captain, George Brown.
The 55-year-old driver of the 2006 Ford van was also injured. The OHP said Miller was driving while intoxicated and driving "at a high rate of speed." OHP said Miller was uncooperative with investigators and sent to a Tulsa area hospital.
The attendant, Gail Estep, 59, of Oktaha, was flown by medical helicopter to a Tulsa hospital with injuries to her head, leg, arm and internal injuries, but she is expected to be okay.
Executive Director of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, Tim Stewart said, the stop where the accident happened is one of the oldest on the turnpike and may be re-evaluated for safety concerns.
"We try to look at lessons learned in every incident and we're going to do the same thing here. The design that's out here meets the crash-worthy standards but we may need to enhance that,” Stewart said.
Enhancements that have already been done at other locations across the state; but troopers said regardless of the amount of rumble strips, lights, and concrete barriers, the best way to prevent these kinds of accidents is to slow down and never drink and drive.
After blood alcohol tests come back the D.A. will decide whether to charge Miller with drunk driving. He pleaded guilty to DUI in 2008.
As for the toll plaza, crews worked throughout the afternoon to replace the damaged booth, they hope to have it back up and running by Friday.