OHP: Crash Closing Oklahoma Highway Likely Due To Drinking, Driving

Friday, December 19th 2014, 6:16 pm
By: News On 6


CRAIG COUNTY, Oklahoma - A Craig County highway reopened several hours after an early morning crash that left a big mess. Authorities said it was likely caused by drinking and driving.

Two semis and a pickup crashed on Highway 60 between Nowata and Vinita, leaving groceries scattered across the highway and emergency responders worried about a truck carrying anhydrous ammonia.

Crews worked until Friday evening to get the road cleared for local drivers.

12/19/2014 Related Story: Truck Driver Booked Into Jail After Crash Shuts Down Highway West Of Vinita

The investigators said the person who may be at the root of the messy accident, may have been drinking.

Busted boxes of everything from toiletries to food were scattered along Highway 60 in Craig County.

Becky Johnson ran into it twice Friday - headed from home in Nowata to work in Vinita Friday morning, and on the way back.

For her, and others, losing Highway 60 means losing time.

"It's very important because that's the only way without taking 20 miles of gravel roads to get from home to work," Johnson said.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said the driver of the grocery truck veered off Highway 60 and crashed around 4:30 Friday morning.

Another semi, carrying anhydrous ammonia, slammed into the wreckage. Then a pick-up truck slammed into the debris.

"Anhydrous ammonia is very dangerous and it's also an inhalant, so we try to take this very seriously," said Craig County Emergency Management Director, Morris Bluejacket.

Fortunately, there were no serious injuries and no leaks.

"The best outcome we could have had was just like we had it, with that anhydrous ammonia staying in the container, the compartment not being breached," said OHP Trooper, Ben Bertram.

Bertram said he smelled alcohol on the breath of Navid Shahzad, the driver of the grocery truck. Shahzad was arrested on suspicion of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. He's now out of jail on bond.

"That's a large vehicle being involved in a DUI accident," Bertram said.

People with the office of emergency management said they're thankful with the quick response of first responders to deal with the mess.

They said it could have been a lot worse if the anhydrous ammonia had leaked.